I was born and bred in Paarl, the second of 6 children, the first generation in our family completing matric with the 3 oldest the first to graduate at UWC.

We started working with my mom at a very young age while still in primary school collecting weekly payments for her buying-and-selling clothing business. Our Friday evenings and Saturday mornings were consumed by this chore, or by babysitting coupled with house chores with the open option to switch around.

After finishing my degree, I got married and started with a family venturing out in the job market in 1996. My career started as an Office Coordinator at Old Mutual in 1996, a time when work was almost impossible to get. I soon became familiar with phrases like “you are overqualified” and “you have no work experience.” After the 1994 election the work-sector was filled with fear of job losses as the nation moved beyond Apartheid.

My career path led me from insurance application processing under a mountain of paperwork to the start of the financial administrative digital era, to being a Financial Advisor for five years, marketing insurance products, then to a very short sting with jargon like 304 and 316 Stainless steel piping in my father’s engineering business.  Finally I landed in the ever-evolving world of tertiary education, where I’ve spent the past 6 years.

Amanda (far right) with her husband, Ivan, daughter, Melissa and son, Craig, at Craig’s graduation with a BSc Honours degree in Biochemistry at Stellenbosch University last year.

Moving from words like Biomarkers, Transmission, HIV and Mathematical modeling to this new environment with words like Sustainability Science, Transdisciplinary research methodology, Governance and Social-Ecological Resilience reflects my new borderless cross-cutting departmental existence under the umbrella of SU.

Migrating and crossing the grass literally from the cellar to the Stables into a culture shock of newness has kept life very interesting and ensured no lack of new challenges.

I am looking forward getting to learning more in this new environment and to working very closely with the staff and students. But, to tell the truth, the more I listen, the more complex it appears to be. That said, with time as all things else this will also be woven into the fabric of me being who I am.

“Let go of yesterday. Let today be a new beginning and be the best that you can be, and you’ll get to where God wants you to be” – Joel Osteen.

Amanda October started working at the CST in June 2016 as Office Manager.