I’m Hlanganisa Hector Mbatha, born and raised in Osizweni, Newcastle. I enrolled for a Public Relations Diploma at the Vaal University of Technology in 2010, due to my high school teacher recommending that I’d love it and I did. During my last tertiary year I volunteered at the Madadeni Provincial Hospital, under the PR Office for a year and 5 months.

I graduated in 2014 and later that year, I got an internship at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. There I focussed on speech writing, research and radio production. I have a keen interest in African politics and affairs.

I love African history and culture means everything to me, as I actively participate in traditional activities back home. I aspire to be a “farmer extraordinaire” in the future.

I am so excited to join this prestigious agency as an intern. Thank you for the opportunity.

My way to Meropa
My journey to be an intern at Meropa was something else. After volunteering at the Madadeni Provincial Hospital for 17 months and then doing an internship programme at the Department of International Relations & Cooperation’ for 19 months, I was back to job hunting. I went back home, in Newcastle, to search for opportunities but unfortunately I was unsuccessful.

After a month, I decided to come back to Johannesburg to hustle for a job and gave myself 4 weeks to do so. For 3 days, dressed formally, I stood by a traffic light at Hyde Park corner with a cardboard written “Diploma in PR, 3 years’ experience, please help, I need a Job”. Lucky enough, on the third day Meropa sent one of their staff to fetch me by the traffic light and bring me over to the agency to meet up with one of their account directors. I was interviewed on that same day and they told me they would like to recommend me for their internship programme.

A couple of days after that meeting, I was called in to write a recruitment test. Let me tell you, it was the most intriguing and toughest test I have ever written in my life. It really stretched my mind and I came out of that test questioning myself if I really made a right decision to study PR in the first place.

Two weeks after that test, I got a call that I made it and I’ll be part of Meropa for the next six months. It was the best news for the year for me. I mean, to be part of such a huge PR agency in the country is awesome, the knowledge I will get here will last a lifetime.

On the first day at Meropa, I wasn’t nervous but I was just excited like crazy. I couldn’t wait to meet everybody and start learning as soon as possible. My mind set is like “absorb everything you can, six months will be over as in tomorrow”. I was introduced to everyone, including to the SANRAL team that I will be part of. Meropa has a very friendly environment and that makes things easier for me to settle in. There is a lot to learn and I am down for everything.

So far
It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve started my internship and I’m enjoying every day of it. Waking up very early in the first week was a strain but now I’m getting used to it. I have been exposed to a lot of SANRAL’s projects that are being implemented and future plans. A week back I attended the SANRAL’s weekly status meeting at their head office. There I got to meet the SANRAL’s communication team and the other agencies that we are working with. Even though I didn’t understand most of the things they were talking about because I’m still new but now it’s starting to make sense since I’m seeing everything coming together. I’m getting more and more familiar with how things work around here. Oh I also like that every Friday, we get to write a news awareness test, just to see how each person is well informed. I like it because it’s written by the entire staff, and when we all there, you just feel that sense of unity. It’s quite entertaining and for the first test I did bad but much better in my latest one. It makes one to read more when it comes to news in South Africa and around the globe.

On Mandela day, our team went to Zenzeleni Primary School in Alexandra Township for our 67 minutes. The whole of Meropa was part of the day activities and it was fun and a meaningful experience. Things have been very interesting here at Meropa and can’t wait for more.