Nadjwa Jones has been working with Iziko Museums for almost 20 years. She had always been interested in museums from a young age and went on to study linguistics and sociology in college. After landing a job as a front-of-house attendant at the Maritime Centre, a position opened up for an education position; since then she’s found herself working across all of the Iziko Museums.
Q: What do you like most about working in museums?
A: “I like the multi-tasking part about it…and not doing the same thing every day. Every day is something different because you make contact with different people and cultures, even if the information you are talking about is the same each day. You learn something new and also do your job better each time.”
Q: What have been some of your struggles in your profession?
A: “I really cannot say there are any struggles because of the passion I have for my work. I don’t actually consider this a job. So, I can’t think of any struggles right now.”
Q: Do you have any advice for anyone interested in entering into a museum profession?
A: “You must have lots of patience. You also need to have interactive skills with people because you will always be working as a team in some way, whether you are a curator or educator. There is no “I” in museums. So you need to be able to see the big picture when you’re working. Also, you need to have an open mind to learning new ideas.”
Getting to know Nadjwa has been eye-opening for me professionally and personally. Work-wise, I have gained respect for her because of the way she manages to to deal with the things that are thrown her way, whether it’s an impromptu morning school group tour or sitting in for a department’s director while they’re away. Personally, I’ve gotten to hear her opinions and learn new things. For example, I told her I wasn’t too knowledgeable about Muslim culture and she took me to a mosque and explained certain religious views, as well as taking me to the market to try new foods. I’ve learned so much from her both in and out of the office, and it’s only been 2 weeks. I admire her generosity and willingness to share her knowledge even when she’s juggling so much work already.