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23 August 2021 | Story Nonsindiso Qwabe | Photo Supplied
Picture: Passionate and strong- Zanele Mbhele

Zanele Mbhele is a third-year BSc student majoring in Chemistry and Botany on the Qwaqwa Campus. At age 22, this young woman from Cornelia, a small town in the Northern Free State, already wears many hats – as a residence assistant, peer mentor for first-year students, and most recently, as a youth lifestyle blogger.

Mbhele launched her website in June. There she writes on topics such as finance, relationships, mental well-being, and fashion, to mention a few. Since its inception, she has attracted traffic from around the country, as well as international parts of the world such as North and South America, China, and different parts of Europe. 

Taking part in poetry has ignited her love for writing and storytelling, and Mbhele says she wants to grow into the many hats she wears and make a name for herself in science, as well as in writing for local and international audiences.

What does being a woman mean to you?
It’s being strong. Seeing opportunities where they are scarce. Being independent. Getting out of your comfort zone.

Which woman inspires you, and why?
It has to be news anchor and TV show host, Tumelo Mothotoane. She is from Limpopo and followed her passion for media in a place where media was not popular. She is hardworking and she believes in herself. She started small and today she is an international news anchor. Another woman who inspires me, is my mother. She was unemployed but because of her love for selling clothes, she was able to provide for us. I didn’t grow up feeling like I’m fatherless, and we were able to have a childhood like other children because of her hard work.

What advice would you give to the 15-year-old you?
I would say, invite God into all your plans. Know that no dream is too big for you. Don’t be scared of failure, because through failure we find ourselves and see our capabilities. Don’t be afraid to start small.

Any advice to anyone who also wants to grow on social media?
Social media has made many things possible. If you’re good at dancing, you can create a TikTok or YouTube account. You don’t even need fancy gadgets anymore. Many places now offer free Wi-Fi, so you can go anywhere and do your thing. Most things are possible today; you don’t have to wait until you have an iPhone. Just start with what you have. I haven’t mastered social media platforms yet and I don’t have any background in website creation, but I am learning and improving. 

What makes you a woman of quality, impact, and care?
I believe I am a woman of quality because I’m goal-driven; a woman of impact because I move beyond fear, step out of my comfort zone, and embrace change; and a woman of care because I care about the well-being of a person. This is evident from my blog. The things I talk about need little to no budget at all, because I understand what it means to be less fortunate, looking for solutions to your problems. 

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