Thabiso Mbatha is a passionate agronomist and Candidate Natural Scientist who has worked in public, civil and private sectors within the agriculture industry. From trainee to an Agricultural Advisor, Thabiso is now responsible for providing farmers with crop protection solutions that are environmentally, economically and practically safe.
He is still regarded as someone who is new in the industry, but his achievements say that he is definitely growing to become a force to be reckoned with. Thabiso has conducted agricultural work in 4 provinces in South Africa and hopes to tap into the agricultural potential of all 9 provinces. His most memorable professional achievement was conducting, monitoring and evaluating crop production projects within the North-West Province that were awarded financial support. This was when he was still with the Department of Agriculture. This process allowed him to understand the critical aspects that lead to agricultural success and failure, as well as allowing him to contribute to curbing irregular spending of public funds.
Thereafter he “jumped into the deep-end” of entrepreneurship by establishing an agricultural consultancy and learnt vital lessons on how to go about conducting business with farmers. He is currently managing the agrochemical requirements of about 49 farmers, spanning an approximate area of 3174 Hectares, producing macadamia nuts, sugarcane, bananas, vegetables and herbs amongst others. When he is not out on a farm, Thabiso can be found jogging and reading. He also spends his time with his monthly study group that he organises for young farmers that he services. His plan is simple- to facilitate the synergistic formation of commodity-group production leading to the formation of a youth-led African agricultural supply franchise. This will be a vital step in the right direction in efforts to make farming more attractive to the youth by lowering input cost.
“When life gives you lemons, plant the seeds, select the genetically superior types and make a business around it. Remember to give some seeds back.” - Thabiso E. P. Mbatha
Mandlenkosi Nkosingiphile Shandu, popularly known as uKilla K is a 26-year-old who was born and bred in KwaDukuza, Melville. He describes himself as a huge people's person. “I believe I'm an extrovert and it’s easy to be around me because I make other people comfortable to be around me.”
He strongly believes that the town of KwaDukuza is filled with talent that just needs to be unearthed and thus, took it upon himself to do so. In 2017 he came up with this brilliant idea to start his own YouTube channel that would be a voice of the artists within the town. A first in KwaDukuza, it is called The 4450 Online and focuses on artists, creatives and influential people from all over town. On the channel, you would get an insight into the lives of the various artists that are profiled while also providing them with the right exposure. “You hear how it’s like to come from a town like KwaDukuza. I was trying to shift away from the small-town mentality that we are always subjected to because we are from KwaDukuza.”
The portal hosts 5 segments:
- The 032s Hottest MC List (hosted annually)
- 10 Minutes Sit Down with uKilla K (features various artists)
- 032S Brand Alignment Show (includes different brand owners)
- Creative Hopping (covers influencers)
- The Monthly Round Up (round up of the events in town)
The man behind unearthing young creatives is also a creative in his own right and a genius one at that. A jack of all trades- he directs, produces, edits, curates and presents everything that is seen on the channel. Currently residing in Johannesburg for work reasons, uKilla K is Journalism graduate who obtained his qualification at the Tshwane University of Technology. The young pioneer who steered the media industry of the town into the right direction is so passionate about his channel that he never misses an opportunity to record. “Every time I come back home, I make sure to do an episode or two.”
His dreams of running a channel came to life at university and even chose to major in broadcasting over print. At the moment he is a Video Editor for a production company based in Rooderpoort, Gauteng called 32Done Productions. He specifically edits promos for Starsat, a South African direct broadcast satellite television service.
He has been involved in script writing and video editing for the SABC 1 Edutainment TV Show TOMZ and edited for the SAFTA Nominated 2020 AFI International Fashion Week. “The love for TV never stopped, I’m just glad it grew with time. The 4450 Online helped me grow. It is who I am- uKilla K. Don't forget to say the K”
“Dream big” is one of the simplest and most used quotes. When one dreams, they are able to escape their harsh reality and look forward to a better future. When Phakamile Judith Zondi was growing up in the back room of her mother’s workplace in Ballito, she had dreams of protecting lives and now, at the age of 28 she is doing just that and so much more.
Her mother was a domestic worker and now she is a Constable at the KwaDukuza South African Police Services, who also has a daughter of her own and might I add, a beautiful one at that. Phakamile was born at Etete and was raised by a single parent. She completed her Matric at Shakaskraal Secondary School. Gone are the days where Phakamile would daydream about becoming a cop, now she is enforcing the law and making the streets of KwaDukuza much safer for all of us, one case at a time. . .
“Ngiytholel’ umunt’ oFresh, umuntu onjengo Nurse…”
When Mampinsta sang this line in Big Nuz’s 2011 hit single, Wayilamula, he certainly had Londiwe Minenhle Khumalo in mind. Londiwe is a 23-year-old nurse from KwaDukuza. She is one of the few people that were able to identify their purpose from an early age. “I’ve always been one person who has chosen to embrace their innate need to nurture and heal people in which ever capacity life has allowed me to.
All the choices that I have made in my life have sort of revolved around that.” She obtained her Bachelor of Nursing (Hon) Degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has served the community of KwaDukuza since graduating in 2019. The story of her upbringing is that of a typical African child, raised by the powerful prayers of two strong black women eTete. Londiwe believes that her grandmother’s (uGugu) prayers have launched her far further than anticipated. Although serving her community as a nurse has always been her dream, it doesn’t mean that there are no challenges. It is not all sunshine and roses. “There are days where it gets tough, and I feel like pulling few hairs but that one, “Ngyabonga mntanami” from patients makes me feel like all those sleepless nights at UKZN were worth it and keeps me going.
When former Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi won the pageant in 2019, she had a very clear message for girls all around the world- take up space! Dabbling in being a radio DJ, MC, media personality and model, Minenhle Alungile Linda Jr Ntuli is certainly taking the advice of Zozi.
Born in KwaMaphumulo, the all-round entertainer needs no introduction. Minnie (as she’s popularly known), first made her claim to fame in 2017 when she auditioned for Idols SA and although she did not win, she made it all the way to the top 16 and is grateful for journey. “Idols was a whirlwind of emotions- it was challenging yet memorable and unforgettable, even life changing because honestly, how many people leave the competition and be blessed as I have been? I work with so many brands and organizations and that opportunity was because of my time on Idols so I am very grateful.” Adjusting to life after Idols proved to be smooth sailing for the bubbly personality and she does not think it has anything to do with working hard, but rather carrying out her purpose. “If I’m being honest, I don’t recognize it as working hard when you are aligned with your purpose. You want to do more of it because nothing else makes sense.” Her passion lies in cooking and radio and making her choose either is nearly impossible. “Imagine someone asking you to choose your favourite child,” she laughs. “I can’t choose one because they serve a different purpose in my life that is fulfilling. But just so you know, cooking gave me access to radio and to people’s hearts and in turn, that same radio saved me from depression.” As it is youth month, we couldn’t let the former UKZN student representative council member go without picking her brain on youth issues. Just as all quotes go, she emphasizes the importance of education. “Education, education, education. Education gives access and enlightens. There are so many gaps in the access to the “free” education that people think exist and mostly affects the black child in this day and age...imagine! education will always be number 1 to me.” She goes on to say that: “Documented history will always make the current generation look less than. So if you ask me if we are as brave as the youth of 1976 then id say no. but if you ask, are we fired up then yes because we have social media and that is our power.” The youth of 1976 died physically for what they believed in, and today’s youth dies emotionally and I cannot tell you which is worse.
Durban has Ricky Rick, Nelspruit has Costa Titch and the small town of KwaDukuza has uMshayi. Sakhile Melusi Mdletshe popularly known as Mshayi is a multi-talented 23-year-old from Groutville.
He went to Dr B Vilakazi primary school, Ashram Primary and Stanger ML Sultan where he did his Grade 12, but unfortunately did not pass. Mshayi believes that not every everyone needs education to be successful. He describes himself as a non-conformist, “I have always believed that my talent is what will make me successful, not school.” He started making music when he was eighteen years old and has consistently worked on his craft, earning him the opportunity to meet with a lot of musicians that are currently making waves in the music industry like Big Zulu, Blaq diamond, Mampintsha, Dladla Mshunqisi and Ricky Rick who happens to be his role model. “One thing that I have learnt from them is the importance of working hard and doing things by yourself without expecting any favours, independence is what they always preach.” Mshayi is an all-rounder of an entertainer that sometimes dabbles in being an event organizer, content creator, a fashion designer and sometimes even an MC. He even has his own brand called (COMBO). In this time that Mshayi has been an entertainer, the one thing he has noticed is that it may seem like it is easy to be in the industry but it’s not, one has to continuously work hard, put in your all and remain focused. “I have achieved a lot; my achievements may not be tangible things that I can wave at someone’s face as proof of my hard work but deep down I know that I have done a lot and I am proud of myself.” His one wish is to create a better life for his family and become someone that the youth of KwaDukuza look up to.
Born and bred in Mandeni, Sundumbili, Nongcebo Khumalo is a qualified journalist and digital strategist. She describes herself as a young and driven woman. She went to Mandeni Academy and Stanger High School, completed her studies at the Durban University of Technology and Vega School.
Over the years, Nongcebo has worked in the media industry as a production assistant and a producer for a number of sport shows on Super Sport. Now residing in Durban, she is also an entrepreneur spear heading BlackNinetyOne - an agency that provides businesses and brands with digital strategies for social media. Fuelled by passion and the drive to be successful, she is also a freelance researcher, working for a travel show called Shay’iround that airs on SABC1.
Amabomvu lounge is a lifestyle lounge that offers restaurant, lounging, bar services as well as car wash facilities. This venue is also used by various government departments to conduct and carry out a number of community initiatives.
Pink Print Farm Produce is owned by a 24 year old young lady living in Maphumulo, she supplies high quality processed meat products such as Boerewors, Burger patties, Cheese Wors, Flavoured Sausages and Mincemeat. Her products are trusted made from the finest ingredients to make sure your meal is hearty, healthy and heavenly.
One thing that is set to unite people of different backgrounds, di!erent beliefs and di!erent ethnic groups is food.