To say Naseema Mustapha is connected is to err on the side of understatement.
A native of South Africa she is heavily involved in the activities of the Queensland African Community Council. She also has strong and vibrant links with an ever-growing Muslim community in southeast Queensland.
For the postgraduate tourism student at Griffith University, therefore, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) could not have come at a more opportune time. She has seized the moment, volunteering at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) to be a Multicultural Community Ambassador representing South Africa at GC2018.
“It’s an appointment focused on the inclusion of Australia’s culturally diverse communities,” she says. “I’m using my networks to build a sense of ownership and excitement about the Games here in different communities.
“It’s an awareness-building role where I’m helping to generate interest in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games among people from countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, India and Pakistan, as well as South Africa.”
Be part of history
Part of the role involves posting regular updates to social media on athletics, badminton, hockey and squash. A key focus at present is the hockey game on the second day of the Games between South Africa and Scotland.
“There is great enthusiasm among these communities about the Games. The Africans really love their sport so they are keen to know who is coming to compete and in which sports. Their sense of affiliation with home is very strong.
“Through my social media networks I’m also helping to make them aware of Festival 2018 and the many multicultural events that will be happening around the Games, letting them know that they can be part of the momentum and the history that will be made on the Gold Coast. I am also connecting with the various international student clubs at Griffith University.”
While studying a Bachelor of International Tourism and Hotel Management, Naseema won the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence in 2015 and 2016. She also took out the Queensland Government Multicultural Awards Outstanding Volunteer Award 2016 and, most recently, was presented with the Griffith Business School Global Community Service Award in November.
She is now studying a Master of International Tourism and Hotel Management at Griffith University’s South Bank campus; for her the right degree at exactly the right time.
“I can see the tourism potential; there are multiple opportunities. This experience can also open up avenues for me in tourism in the future. Right now, it’s a great opportunity to promote Australia as a destination to visit for a major sporting event.”
The excitement around GC2018 reminds Naseema of EXPO ’88 in Brisbane when – as an 18-year-old – she immersed herself in the celebrations after her parents bought a family pass for the season.
“I remember seeing how it transformed Brisbane and South Bank, and I envisage something similar happening on the Gold Coast. There is a massive opportunity for job creation in the region in the aftermath.”