Leaving a sustainable legacy is one of the main aspects engrained in the leadership DNA of Nomvula Chasakara.
Chasakara (21), the newly-elected chairperson of the North-West University (NWU) Potchefstroom Campus Student Council (PCSC) for 2023/24, has made a smooth transition to her new leadership role this term, having fulfilled her duties as deputy chairperson in the 2022/23 term.
This self-professed lover of reading stepped into office as chairperson in September, and started the term on a high with a special Rugby World Cup Final project. Nomvula and her dedicated team ensured that R100,000 would be allocated to aid struggling students with their registration fees in 2024. This was a collaboration with the office of the vice chancellor and Student Life.
“I’m very proud of the team. We had this plan to generate funds, and the whole event worked out well in a short space of time. We challenged Prof. Bismark Tyobeka to match ticket sales for the final. Students enjoyed themselves and there was an amazing vibe. We came together as a student populace and showed how students can come together for each other.”
Chasakara’s journey into leadership started at school level, where she displayed a knack for taking responsibility and earning the trust of her peers.
“I was that kid in high school who excelled academically and enjoyed leadership. I was online for most of my matric year at Curro Krugersdorp. We were also the first group of matrics at Curro Krugersdorp, where I was head girl.
She started her tertiary studies as a first year in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic. She also ventured into leadership roles at the outset with the Student Academic Chapter (SAC) as internal liaison.
“I did not have my first year as usual on campus due to the Covid-19 pandemic and only experienced university life my second year in 2022. So it was quite different, but I adjusted well to campus life.”
Chasakara says leadership has always been a natural aspect of her personality. Her parents, Eric and Nelisa, also play a large role in her leadership foundation.
“You represent the home you come from. My parents’ characteristics are displayed in me. My father, is more talkative and well-spoken, while my mom is skilled in business and entrepreneurship. My parents both encouraged me to read a lot.”
Nomvula Chasakara’s list of must read books:
“The Land is Ours” – Tembeka Ngcukaitobi
“The New Apartheid” – Sizwe Mpofu Walsh
“The 5 AM Club” – Robin Sharma
“Things Fall Apart” – Chinua Achebe
“Nervous Conditions” – Tsitsi Dangarembga
Chasakara highlighted that numerous students across South Africa come to university with only an acceptance letter , hoping to secure a future for themselves after school.
“I enjoy community service and philanthropy work. Students want education from all over and they come to us for assistance. I must ensure that they are assisted. “On a leadership level, I’m passionate about helping people to excel academically and closing the margin,” she adds.
My goal is to leave a sustainable mark in my term as chairperson. It takes about five years to see a vision come to life,” she adds. She emphasised that the student leaders’ most stressful time is during the R&O period. “We try to get as much funding from firms as possible to assist and alleviate the funding and accommodation issues of students,” states Chasakara, while a student knocks for help during the interviewing, illustrating the constant need for assistance with various issues. It’s not just work and no play for this bright young leader, who states that she enjoys going out and relaxing at a restaurant or farmers market when she has a chance.
“I haven’t had a personal weekend for a long time. I enjoy farmers’ markets, chilled and relaxed restaurant vibes too. I am not a big party animal,” she says. Music is also at the heartbeat of her existence. She loves listening to jazz and amapiano and presents two radio shows at PukFm, namely the local Top 30 and international Top 40 shows.
This foodie at heart says she can eat waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“I don’t mind waking up at midnight to make waffles. My go-to meals are roasted chicken and vegetables or lamb chops,” she adds.
Her role models include Nomzamo Mbatha (actress and TV personality), and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigerian writer and author), who showcases what it is to live one’s dreams and aspirations.
This trailblazer wants to achieve her PhD at 24.
“I am doing a BA degree in public governance with politics and public administration. The end goal is to become a diplomat and ambassador.”
Chasakara, who speaks eight languages, has a burning passion for learning and believes dreams are meant to be lived.
“I want to be a representation of a dream I lived.”