When poetry meets finance
completing her PhD in Development Finance, Nthabiseng Moleko, lecturer in Managerial Economics and Statistics at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), managed to find time to launch her own poetry book, Been Chasing Destiny.
She says the book is an anthology of poetry and deals with the different phases one undergoes when journeying though life while attempting to figure out one’s purpose – and therefore chasing your destiny.
“The inspiration comes from a place of intimacy with God, either during times of worship or when I am praying. I usually write when I am free from the thoughts of the day that flood my mind. I must remove myself from the distraction of the mundane happenings of the day or week to write poetry,” she explains.
With her poetry book she wants to start a movement of South Africans and Africans who want to make a positive change to their nations’ destiny.
“But it all starts with yourself by identifying your own purpose and calling and pursuing that no matter what the price. Once you have identified your sense of purpose, ensure that it is not entirely lacking from the national agenda – we need nation builders, men and women who will make it their responsibility to rebuild the nation,” she says.
Moleko strongly believes that the agenda of nation building cannot be outsourced to politicians or institutions, but it ‘starts with where you are and affecting change in your own community, your school, your family, your business and place of work’.
“It is in that setting where justice, equity, righteousness and doing good work must be the standard. We focus too much on external situations and factors which are a necessity, however we do not look at places that are within our reach. That is where we ought to start but not end,” she says.
So where does her love for development finance come from?
“I chose development finance because I want to change the world. I want to make a difference using finance to help with development and growing of Africa.”
This year alone she travelled to Zurich, Switzerland to present at the PEGNet Conference on “Understanding national inequalities and how to address them”. She also visited Paris, France where she spoke about her findings on how pension funds can be used to transform the economy and promote economic development and how it can be used to reduce inequality, poverty and create employment.
About these opportunities she says that ‘poverty is a global problem that requires global collaborations and think tanks to come together’.
Being passionate about both humanities and finance, Moleko says that unfortunately creativity, imagination and awareness of artistic things is not paid as well compared to those skills which require reasoning, analytical thought and logic.
“When you seek a career in the arts it is normal to receive an immediate response of caution or discouragement from family or loved ones as they believe you are unlikely to live a “comfortable life”.
“What this suggests is that there exists a market failure where society has put a premium on engineering skills, accounting, mathematics and other such skills that focus on the left hand side of the brain. Yet when looking at the arts and the benefit it has to society, musicians, sculptors, painters, poets, writers, dancers, and comedians are paid lower remunerations than their analytical equivalents,” she says.
“This changes when you become famous as your rates increase substantially, but the average artist still struggles more than the average engineer or accountant. People would argue they are doing an artist a favour by marketing them when inviting them to perform at an event, yet one would rarely invite a tax practitioner, engineer or chartered accountant and argue they are marketing them as payment for their work,” she argues.
Working with high school learners is also something close to her heart. Moleko, who was born in Umtata and schooled in Grahamstown, used to do career fairs and career workshops in the Eastern Cape with students, using poetry, art, media, rap and dance to make the fairs more exciting. “We encourage young underprivileged people to pursue education and also have an understanding of what is out there, because a lot of them have limited information.”
And with her passionate nature, latest poetry book and a PhD winking in the near future, she’s well on her way of changing the world one poem and statistic analysis at a time.