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Volunteerism to unlock opportunities

Vuyo Macoba

The global society commemorated International Volunteers Day on 5 December. Governments across the world have celebrated this day after it was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in December 1985. Considering the efforts of the frontline workers and volunteers that sacrifice themselves in the fight against Covid-19, the year 2020 marks a special celebration with the theme Together We Can Through Volunteering, and in this regard, Vuyo Macoba believes that the global society should venerate this day higher.

In order to complete his journalism qualification, Macoba, a Communication Science student at Unisa, did his work-integrated learning (WIL - 150 hours) at Unisa Radio before becoming a volunteer, then a full-time staff member at the station. He left the university to further pursue a sports journalism career at Soweto TV and is currently a sports journalist at Power FM. He sees volunteerism as an important tool that contributes to the advancement of societies and individuals.

“We need to elevate the tradition of volunteerism to a level that becomes recognised and supported by our governments. In an increasingly competitive job market that has been affected by the pandemic, volunteering experience can be very beneficial. It shows prospective employers that you can take initiative. It also provides common skills used in a workplace, such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, planning and organising. If you do not have full-time employment yet, volunteering is an essential way to gain and prove your skills,” urges Macoba.

Reflecting on his journey at Unisa, he says he knew volunteering at the station - a media house within a learning institution - would motivate him to further his studies. He describes it as fruitful and says that he was guided by some of the brightest minds in the field, while also being exposed to the best lessons on how to pursue great sports stories. “It was one of the best decisions I made in the early days of my career as this allowed me to continue learning in a certified space,” he adds.

The opportunity to learn was elevated when he contributed to Drum Beat, an internal newsletter compiled by the Department of Communication Science in the College of Human Sciences at Unisa. He covered stories internally and externally, interviewing, especially, Unisa professors who really sharpened his mind. According to Macoba, volunteering put his foot in the door and gave him the type of experience that he would not trade for anything.

Apart from spending his days interviewing South Africa’s prominent sportspersons, his career highlights include:

  • In 2018 - Collecting, with his team, the Sports Programme of the Year and Community of the Year Awards for Soweto TV at the Gauteng Sport Awards. Macoba was a co-producer of Dlala Mzansi sport show, which became a flagship programme at Soweto TV and was created with elements that stern from the sport show he produced at Unisa Radio, The Sport Hub.
  • 2019 - He was one of the African sports journalists, one of three in South Africa, who were invited by the German Bundesliga (German football league) to attend a media workshop on the operations of one of the best leagues in the world.
  • 2020 – The year 2020 marks 10 years since SA hosted the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Macoba co-produced a celebratory radio documentary Looking Back To The 2010 FIFA World Cup in SA for Power 987 that included the commentary of greats such as former President Thabo Mbeki, Bishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, and soccer star, Siphiwe Tshabalala who scored the opening goal for Bafana Bafana, which set ablaze the tournament and brightened this rainbow nation.

Macoba encourages students and graduates to embrace volunteerism. “Make sure that you volunteer at a company that you see a future in or one that will afford you an experience to grow in your field. Whenever a company is looking to fill in a position, they first look internally, and then to volunteers before advertising externally. Also, when you get the opportunity, work diligently and honestly as though you are already an employee,” he concludes.

*By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2020-12-03 00:00:00.0