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The Annual KAS/SAIIA Careers Evening in Cape Town

On October 2, 2018, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) in cooperation with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) organized its annual careers evening for students of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The event offered participants the opportunity to inform themselves and exchange ideas about career opportunities, career paths, scholarships and internships.

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A question that most Humanities and Social Science students ask themselves during their studies is: "What can I do with my completed studies? The annual KAS/SAIIA Careers Evening serves as a possible answer to this question and informs students about various career paths and opportunities they have during and after their studies.

The event was divided into two parts. The first part consisted of an interactive meeting and personal talks between students and representatives of potential employers, in which the students received information about various job opportunities, internships and scholarships. This year the Careers Evening welcomed fifteen exhibitors from different sectors including research institutions, civil society organisations, exchange programmes and consultancies such as the DAAD, the British High Commission, Campus France and the Centre for Constitutional Rights.

The second part of the evening began with the welcoming remarks by Luke White, who first introduced the work of SAIIA and pointed out the purpose of the event: to inspire students for different career possibilities and to establish a first contact with potential employers. Priscilla Thindwa, moderator of the evening and current scholarship holder of the KAS/SAIIA scholarship programme, introduced the five guest speakers: Mkhuleko Hlengwa (Member of Parlia-ment of the Inkatha Freedom Party), Solly Moeng (Senior Consultant at the branding company Don Valley), Diana Nyabongo (Associate at the global consultancy S-RM), John Stupart (Managing Director of the African Defence Review) and Lennon Monyae (Associate at the African Peer Review Mechanism "APRM" of the African Union).

Mr. Hlgenwa particularly emphasized the aspect of social responsibility that each individual has towards his fellow human beings. Especially students of Social Sciences and the Humanities should always be aware of the fact that they are part of a community and that their work, whether as academics at a university or as employees in a company, has a direct or indirect effect on their social environment. Solly Moeng, an expert on branding and marketing strategies, took up this point and stressed that one is not only responsible for the things one says or does, but also for not speaking out or doing something when it would have been good to do so. He encouraged the students to work on their own branding and to use social media in a responsible way. Diana Nyabongo advised the students to get to know themselves and their own skills and strengths better since only those who are convinced of themselves can also convince in a job interview. In the following speech, John Stupart mentioned a strength that students of the Humanities and Social Sciences have to acquire during their studies and that they should appreciate as it is required for almost every field of work: their writing skills. He also stressed that students should pursue their interests and passions and not be discouraged by setbacks. Finally, Lennon Monyae, APRM associate of the African Union, encouraged the audience to take advantage of opportunities to put their theoretical knowledge into practice. Internships are not only good for deepening theoretical knowledge and gaining practical experience, but also for getting in contact with potential employers which can open doors.

The stories of the guest speakers illustrated that the road to success can be diverse, probably involves detours and is not necessarily shaped by straightforwardness. Christina Teichmann, project manager of the KAS in Cape Town, concluded this part of the event by providing some information about the work of the KAS in South Africa and the KAS-SAIIA scholarship programme, thanking all guests and shortly summarizing the main points of the guest lectures. Finally, the students had the opportunity to continue their discussions with the exhibitors and guest speakers while enjoying refreshments.

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Christina Teichmann

August 7, 2018
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