Third-year Information Systems and Technology student, Mr Muhle Ndwalane, got a once in a lifetime opportunity of exploring the practical applications of virtual reality during his recent trip to the home of start-up and global technology companies in Silicon Valley, California.

As an executive member of Enactus UKZN, Ndwalane represented the University at the Enactus World Cup where he formed part of a group of about 3 500 students and business and academic leaders from all over the world at the annual gathering that showcases innovative entrepreneurial action and how it is transforming lives and creating a better future.

‘The national Enactus organisation hosts a competition in which all Enactus regional branches compete with the winners representing South Africa at the Enactus World Cup. Although Enactus UKZN came third in the national competition, there was still an opportunity for Enactus members to attend the World Cup by sending a motivation of why they deserved to go. I did just that and was selected. I was driven by the motivation of gathering knowledge and insight into how Enactus UKZN can improve the quality of its projects and bring the organisation closer to its mission of winning the World Cup championships next year,’ said Ndwalane.

Being his first trip abroad, Ndwalane used this opportunity to explore California while at the same time building networks that will serve Enactus UKZN’s strategic vision of developing projects that contribute to a sustainable world.

‘I had the privilege of listening to an inspirational speech delivered by the 66th United States Secretary of State, Dr Condoleezza Rice. This was a very educational moment for me as learning from the wisdom of wise leaders is very important in further developing my leadership skills. I was also very intrigued by how teams use virtual reality in their projects. I am already in talks with a VR specialist to explore how we can adopt this technology in UKZN projects,’ said Ndwalane.

As a student, Enactus member and young man from the small town of Bhobhoyi in Port Shepstone, Ndwalane is thankful to UKZN’s Student Services Division and Enactus for making one of his dreams a reality.

‘Despite my background, I have always believed in the power of dreams,’ said Ndwalane. ‘When I left home for university, I told myself that I would turn every challenge into an opportunity and work very hard to not only realise my dreams, but inspire others like me to see that dreams do come true. This trip proved that I’m on the right path,’ he said.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga 

Photograph: Supplied by Muhle Ndwalane