An Interview with Tebogo Mabusela

Behind the scenes with Tebogo: get to know who he is and what has made him stand out.

By Tanyaradzwa Gwenhure (Features Editor)

VARSITY News caught up with Tebogo Mabusela, the SRC independent candidate who garnered the majority vote. Tebogo, however, is more than just “the SRC guy”. Hailing from Mokopane —a small town in Limpopo—, he has been pursuing a degree in Accounting under the Commerce Faculty for the past two years. His friends describe him as “friendly” and “smart”, attributes that are clearly demonstrated in his successful campaign.

It is clear from Tebogo that one has to be a leader before they actually get an official title. The title is simply a public confirmation of the attributes one has already been working on in their personal growth. To put it succinctly: leadership is a mindset. For Tebogo, leadership is a platform which he uses to learn what is relevant in his community and what is not. In other words, what is currently serving people and how can he take initiative in perpetuating that. To know this, his friendly demeanour has allowed him to learn how to serve people’s needs and interact with them on the same level. He recalls an incident where he was attempting to recruit residence students for StartUp Grind (a society where he’s co-director). “People don’t listen to you, you sound like a salesperson,” is what his director warned him. Heeding this advice, he reinvented his style, or rather, started being himself. The advice which Tebogo offers is to “try and be yourself, have room to experience people so that they can see who you really are”. This advice is evident on his Instagram page. For someone who’s also in the Commerce Student Council (CSC) amongst other leadership roles one would expect his page to be flooded with how he’s “serving the people”. However, he warns how this image can be unsustainable and appear pretentious. Instead, his social media shows how his friendly personality manifests not only in leadership but day-to-day experiences whether it be on a hiking trip, at the beach or at the Clay Café with new friends…and him being a student, naturally.

We asked what Tebogo meant in his gratitude letter where he mentioned how one does not need to be in politics to be an effective leader. One of his many beliefs is that one does not need to be aligned to a political party to have an authoritative voice that guides people towards positive change. He believes that if one is properly or well-informed they can still effectively lead people. In a society where we are constantly bombarded with information, we need expert voices to lead and they don’t necessarily need to belong to a political party to have authority. The voices just have to address the current and future needs of the people. This fact exhibited in his unique approach to campaigning. Understanding that his student demographic who look for expert answers for guidance are also humans who love memes, classic cartoons, WhatsApp stickers and have serious screen fatigue was a keystone in his campaign. Tebogo’s campaign utilised these tools to grab students’ attention. He met them at common ground in order to learn what their needs were on campus and understand how he could assist them. Clearly, Tebogo used his experience as class representative and CSC member to not only understand student needs but to show his understanding of student culture and reciprocating relatable methods self expression (memes, WhatsApp stickers, et cetera) to show how well he understood all the struggles lying behind the jokes and coping mechanisms. This could only be done by someone who is truly engaging and likely empathetic.

We asked what Tebogo meant in his gratitude letter where he mentioned how one does not need to be in politics to be an effective leader. One of his many beliefs is that one does not need to be aligned to a political party to have an authoritative voice that guides people towards positive change. He believes that if one is properly or well-informed they can still effectively lead people. In a society where we are constantly bombarded with information, we need expert voices to lead and they don’t necessarily need to belong to a political party to have authority. The voices just have to address the current and future needs of the people. This fact exhibited in his unique approach to campaigning. Understanding that his student demoBehind the scenes with Tebogo: get to know who he is and what has made him stand out. By Tanyaradzwa Gwenhure Features Editor graphic who look for expert answers for guidance are also humans who love memes, classic cartoons, WhatsApp stickers and have serious screen fatigue was a keystone in his campaign. Tebogo’s campaign utilised these tools to grab students’ attention. He met them at common ground in order to learn what their needs were on campus and understand how he could assist them.

Clearly, Tebogo used his experience as class representative and CSC member to not only understand student needs but to show his understanding of student culture and reciprocating relatable methods self expression (memes, WhatsApp stickers, et cetera) to show how well he understood all the struggles lying behind the jokes and coping mechanisms. This could only be done by someone who is truly engaging and likely empathetic.

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