Youth Month 2022: Unathi Bambata

Youth Month 2022: Unathi Bambata

June is Youth Month, and this year the NRF is celebrating the youth of the NRF who are working towards achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. We thank all participants for sharing their stories with us and we hope that you are inspired by the young NRF-affiliated researchers who are helping to ensure a sustainable planet for all.

Unathi Bambatais a Master’s student in the Department of Business Management at the University of Fort Hare. She is currently funded by the NRF for her studies.

This is her story…

I grew up in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape Province. We are a family of four with me as the third born. My fond memories of Mthatha are growing up in an environment where I was allowed to imagine and be the best version of myself.

In my first year, I found myself at the University of Fort Hare, Alice Campus, studying for a BCom in Accounting. I must be honest, I only studied this course because of what people were saying about the course. It wasn’t really for me. I then decided to change and study towards a BCom in Business Management (2017 – 2019) and continued with Honours in Business Management as well (2020 – 2021). The change suited me and is assisting me in positioning myself as a future captain of industry.

Did you have to overcome any obstacles to be where you are today, and what did you learn from it?

The obstacle for me was the lack of direction, especially during the first year of my studies. Changing a course was not only brave but it really assisted me.  In life, one should always follow one’s passion and not be dictated by any pressures. Be in control of your life.

What is your research focus/area of expertise?

My research pays attention to the role of small businesses as important conduits for economic growth. I am interested in how small businesses can use firm-specific dynamic capabilities to influence not just their operation but also performance. In my work, I explore the interplay between the two.

The United Nations identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure “…a better and more sustainable future for all…” by 2030. Which of these goals are you addressing through your research, or in your personal life?

The focus of my research fits within SDG: 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Small businesses play an important role in South Africa’s journey towards economic prosperity. This proposed research heightens focus on small business functioning, performance and quests to develop firm-specific capabilities as important in reducing poverty.

What are some of your proudest achievements?

Being selected to study for a Master’s degree at 23 years old bears testimony to all the hard work I have put in.

What are your career aspirations for the future?

I have an interest in going into the property space and being an entrepreneur in such a context.

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