Alumni Magazine Edition 6

Chantal Riley is a multiple award- winning Public Relations Officer and reputation specialist, working for the Johannesburg-based firm PR Worx. She is the only person to have won the PR Institute of South Africa (PRISM) Award for Best PR Professional twice, in 2014 and 2019.

of which she hopes to incorporate into how she does business in the PR industry. “I’d also like to see my blog continue to grow, and I’m about to launch my own Christian podcast,” she says. Born and raised in the East Rand, Johannesburg, Chantal schooled at Edenglen Primary and High School, then enrolled for a marketing and communications degree at UJ

(then RAU), graduating with a BA Hon Marketing Communica- tions in 2004. “I always knew I wanted to go to university. I started looking into course options in my matric year. The RAU Comms degrees immediately caught my eye. I chose the BA route as I was terrible at maths in high school. Still, I surprised myself by acing my economics business management semester. My parents were very supportive of me, and said that if I were going to go do a degree, I would have to do my honours as well,” says Chantal, who did her honours in 2005, coming in the top five of her graduating class. Chantal says she thoroughly enjoyed her time at UJ. “In fact, UJ got me my first media relations job working at the Cricket World Cup 2003 when it was in South Africa. I also met the most interesting people, found lifelong friends and would be remiss if I didn’t mention enjoying chilling on the grounds near the fountain between classes.” After graduating, she joined PR Worx and had a successful career there since. “I believe I truly have a passion for people – speaking to them, helping them, seeing them succeed. This is what has made me a firm favourite with our clients as well because I genuinely enjoy getting to know them and finding solutions to their issues,” she says. Her strengths, she says, are patience and an ability to remain calm in any situation, which serves her well in crisis communications. “When I face anything difficult, I try and logically think it through. I also realise that no man is an island, and I have a strong core group of friends whom I turn to for advice if I feel like I need a second or third opinion on things. I am also highly competitive and hate losing at anything. I will not lose to a bad situation,” she says. She says she’s looking forward to helping her clients reach their objectives and in doing so, rebuild South Africa’s economy post- lockdown. “I don’t like to sit still for very long, so I am always thinking of the next thing I get involved in and succeed at.”

She recently completed her Science of Wellbeing diploma through Yale University and is doing a life coaching course, both Chantal Riley: Award-Winning PR and Reputation Specialist

Sizi Matthews Botsime: Education Influencer and a M&G top 200 young South African

Botsime is not just an achiever in the classroom, but also beyond it. Among his career highlights, he counts being the district finalist for the National Teachers’ Awards (Excellence in Special Needs Education) in 2014. In 2018 and 2019, he was awarded the Global Teachers’ Award in New Delhi, India. In addition, in 2019, he graduated from the Activate Leadership programme and became part of a network of young South Africans that desire changes in their communities. Looking ahead, Botsime aims to establish an academy for children and young adults living with a disability. The academy will focus on skills acquisition and development, with its primary objective being to empower people living with disabilities so that they can become self-reliant and active citizens in all spheres. A humble man, Botsime believes that one should use the skills and knowledge one has acquired to transform the lives of the people in their community. “I am living up to my philosophy; I use what I have acquired to bring change and development to my immediate community and my country.”

University was put on the cards by his Grade 12 Biology teacher, Mr Mafojane, who gave the class a talk about university during the lesson and encouraged the learners to apply. “Following his talk, I went to the University of the Free State the following day and got the application forms and I applied. I worked and studied hard to meet the admission points then. At the end of the year, I passed my matric with university entry and I got accepted for the following academic year.” Initially, Botsime studied a BA in Geography and Environmental Management before transferring from the Free State to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where he completed a BA majoring in Psychology and Isixhosa in 2009. The following year, he went to Rhodes University, and enrolled in a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, studying Life Orientation and Social Studies, which he finished in 2010. Botsime followed this up with an Advanced Diploma in Remedial Education from the University of Johannesburg, which he completed in 2016.

Education activist Sizi Matthews Botsime (AGE) is currently a Grade 4 Homeroom Teacher at the Canadian International School of Egypt, where he teaches English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, Art and Physical Education. At the same time, the Rocklands, Bloemfontein-born educator, is an Education Influencer with the international Education Influence network, where he connects educators from around the world. This 2020 M&G Top 200 Young South African was an enthusiastic student whilst attending both the Monyatsi Public School and Tsoseletso High School. Botsime was also very disciplined and committed to his schoolwork, as well as being involved in extra- mural and co-curricular activities, which may explain his career in educating and advocating for better education and his decision to create the Sizi Botsime Foundation, which focuses on empowering children living with disabilities, and their parents. This is perhaps a far cry from his childhood plans to be a lawyer, or a nurse specialising in Psychiatry, but the ethos of wanting to help others is a thread that runs through these choices.




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