Alumni feature: Sinazo Mafilika
Meet Sinazo Mafilika, an Enactus University of Fort Hare (UFH) Alumnus who was an Enactus Social Media Ambassador during the 2015 Enactus World Cup when South Africa hosted the event. Sinazo also showed her skills as presenter at the 2014 Enactus World Cup in Beijing (China) when Enactus UFH represented the country as National Champion Team.
“Never let hard times be obstacles but rather see them as a pathway for enlightenment.”
Sinazo is a friendly and humble person. In her upbringing, her mother taught her that not everything is received easily, but that hard work and dedication does pay off. Sinazo began looking out for others and went out of her way to assist the next person with no expectation for returns. However, she never gave hand-outs.
Her first encounter with Enactus was through her friend Sesethu, a member of Enactus University of KwaZulu-Natal. She was star-struck when she learned about the work the Enactus students were doing in their community. She also heard that there was an Enactus team at her University. Sinazo’s passion for community development and eagerness to effect change in her community motivated her to track the Enactus Team at the University of Fort Hare where she then joined in 2012.
She never thought that 2013 would be a landmark year for her. It was her second year as member of the team. It was then that she was elected as the campus administrator. The hard work that she has put in as campus administrator led to her election as Institutional Vice-President in 2014. It was during this year when she said she was fortunate enough to be selected as a presenter for the presentation at the 2014 Enactus National Competition. Enactus UFH was crowned the 2014 National Champions and advanced to represent Enactus South Africa at the Enactus World Cup in Beijing, (China).
Lessons and skills gained through Enactus:
One of the biggest lessons Sinazo had to learn was that every individual has their own perspectives on life and although her team come together because of their shared vision, they also had encounters of differences which could easily lead to conflict. Apart from that, the team also experienced trusting issues between team members and the community. This was all about trust, and it made it sometimes difficult to convince the beneficiaries that the changes recommended for some of their projects would advance the project. This was especially true if they had been doing something in the same way for a long time. The lesson learnt through this experience was that the team and beneficiaries had to have the willingness to do sit together and solve their differences, take risks and be committed to see it through even if the outcomes could not be guaranteed.
She also acknowledges Enactus for equipping her with field exposure through their challenge to take action and be involved in different projects. Other skills she recognizes she gained was time management skills, adaptability, people and social skills, innovation, communication and negotiation skills. She values the fact that it also advanced her report writing, planning, and presentation skills and that it gave her the opportunity to learn and to lead, respect and taught her to be resilient. “All these key learnings played a huge role in laying a solid foundation in my career in the developmental sector,” says Sinazo.
Memorable Enactus moments:
There are countless experiences that Sinazo cherishes. Yet, the following ones just stand out. The first one was in 2014 as she was a first time presenter at the Enactus National Competition and she highlights the excitement at the venue being electrifying. She remembers the nerves of standing in front of a huge crowd and the judges as overwhelming. After all the presentations and excitement throughout the competition her team was crowed the National Champion… a team from the rural Eastern Cape and the thought of them representing Enactus South Africa was just out of this world for the entire team as they were all in awe of this recognition. “It was a proud moment”, she recalls. Realizing that indeed “you reap what you sow” and that the hard work of the team paid off.
The Enactus World Cup was hosted in Beijing, China that year and it was her first time travelling abroad. During this distinguished event she describes everything being priceless and how amazing it was meeting members from other countries and learning about their culture and the projects that they were doing in their countries.
Secondly, she says she will never forget the joy and happiness in the faces’ of the beneficiaries when the team instilled hope through assistance and development.
The last memorable moment that is dear to her heart is her role as Social Ambassador for Enactus during the 2015 Enactus World Cup which was held in South Africa, that enabled her to share the unique cultural and entrepreneurial spirit of Enactus students with people all over the country through various social media platforms.
Life after Enactus:
Currently, Sinazo is a Developmental Officer at the National Development Agency. She is responsible for the mobilization of CSO’s (Civil Society Organization) and providing assistance with registration, institutional capacity building trainings, grant funding, linking organizations to funders and also facilitating funding opportunities with stakeholders. Her other role is ensuring that CSO operate and abide with the registration laws.
“It has been a fulfilling journey to have been part of Enactus, because it was through this organisation that I was able to change people’s lives. While in the process of changing lives, I also learned a whole lot. I was equipped with skills that I currently utilise in my workplace” says Sinazo, who now completes her daily activities at work with ease and passion.