On Wednesday, 14 April 2021, Vuwani Science Resource Centre hosted the induction for Volunteers and interns in collaboration with Community Engagement Directorate. This induction took place at Muofhe Graceland Lodge. 

In his opening and welcome message, the Deputy Dean of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Prof Peter Tshisikhawe thanked attendees for considering UNIVEN as a University of their choice. He told volunteers and interns to make use of this opportunity which is intended to assist them with experience needed when applying for jobs. “Make sure that at the end of this programme you would have gained experience that will assist you in future.” 

A radio personality, Wonder Juniper from the University of Limpopo motivated the newly inducted student assistants under the concept of Science Communication skills where he was enlightening them about the power of Science in this modern world. 

Director Community Engagement , Prof Vhonani Netshandama shared with the volunteers, the importance of Community Engagement and its approach. 

She urged the interns to be open-minded and be appreciative of the opportunity to be part of this session. Making an example based on Mr Juniper’s testimony, that your next big break could be from anyone or anywhere. “Show everyone respect and kindness. At the elevator, school kid, the shabby looking guy, because the reward comes as a result of having touched and impacted a life. Be conscious about every interaction that you have with yourself and with your surroundings because you cannot give what you do not have,” she told them. 

Prof Netshandama encouraged them to check their emotions, fix themselves as their daily commitment. She said one thing she has learnt as an adult is that positivity is everything, “you can’t expect to get what you can’t give.” She told them that, “the universe gives you what you have on your state of mind (things she wishes she learnt earlier in life). It is a lifelong commitment, and it plays a huge role in our start-up career journey. There is no skill that you will learn in 30 minutes, give yourself time.” 

When talking about skills, Prof Netshandama , told volunteers and interns that, there is no qualification that doesn’t need additional skills on completion, even if they are not related to their degree. “Mental health has become a skill mandatory for everyone to have, understand how your mind works.” 

She further emphasised the importance of asking questions, do not assume that you know people because they are from your community, colleagues and so forth. 

When talking about how to engage with communities, Prof Netshandama highlighted that there are no blueprints but there is a set of principles anchored from respect. . Even when people do not understand each other due to language barrier and so forth respect is the language that will always be understood and felt globally. “She concluded the session by telling the interns and volunteers that, “life is tough but do not make a habit of complaining, stick it out and always look at the glass as half full.” 

UNIVEN Schools Liaison Officer, Mr Takalani Nyelisani gave very detailed and insightful tips about Writing skills with particular focus on CVs and Project Proposals. 

Ms Jessicah Mamabolo from Vuwani Resource Centre gave a response to all presentations while Dr Sophie Mulaudzi from UNIVEN Department of Physics gave a vote of thanks. 

Among attendees, there were twelve (12) interns from Vuwani Science Resource Centre, twelve (12) Student Assistants from Community Engagement Directorate and three (03) Postgraduate students from UNIVEN Department of Physics. The internship is externally funded by the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). 

Issued by: 

Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8710 

Date: 22 April 2021