Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

29 August 2022

Gert Sibande TVET College honored the late Mrs. Tebogo Percians Portia Mange on Friday, 19 August 2022 with a Memorial Lecture held at Graceland Casino and Country Club, Secunda.

Amongst the guests who attended there were representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) namely; Dr Nick Balkrishen, DHET Regional Manager, N Nwebani, from the office of the DHET and Sam Zungu, Deputy Director General of college’s branch.

Mrs Mange was described as a far-sighted Principal of Gert Sibande TVET College and who was able to drive transformation in providing innovative and industry sought ideal programme mix to the marginalized rural students of the great Gert Sibande District.

She achieved that through establishment of a Business Innovation & Partnership Department which in-house a family of ‘Isiqalo’ business units namely; The Guest House, Tyre Fitment Centre, Tissue factory & the farm.

Her business enterprises now stand as a physical testament to her view that, whatever their previous educational achievements or socio-economic background, the students of the Gert Sibande District Municipality deserve tuition and facilities which at least match those of older and more prestigious global TVETs.

Her quest for attainment of equal education manifested in her establishing a bursary for the girl child.

She believed without a shadow of doubt that the vital mechanism to address the triple socio-economic ills of the country and achieve desired reconstruction and development of the nation was to empower a girl child so she can gainfully participate in the main stream economy.

Deputy Director General (DDG) Mr N. Zungu addressing the audience during the memorial lecture

The day began with a warm welcome given by Tinyiko Lourence Chauke, College Council.

He highlighted the vitality of impacting lives while you still have a chance and touched on the footprints left by the late Mange “We are here today to reflect on the life lived by Portia.

She has walked her life but we can still see her footprints.

There are people who lived before our generation.

There are people who lived that we still read about in history.

But at the same time, there is some history that we have read about, which our kids don’t know.

It means it has lived its life, it has come to an end.

Same as this one, its wealth commemorating,” said Mr. Chauke.

The Gert Sibande TVET College Student Representative Council (SRC) President, Genius Shabalala took to the podium and shared his knowledge about Mrs. Mange.

“I met her when she was a Deputy Principal: Academics under the stewardship of Dr. Nick Balkrishen as principal.

Yes, of course we did disagree with her as student leaders.

But through fine processes we would find a way forward,” he said.

“Mrs. Mange assisted a lot of people through the ‘Isiqalo’ In-house business units and all these entities were driven on her agenda as a Principal.

The SRC has an agenda as well, when we say TVETs must rise we had four (4) pillars in the National level; Industrial absorption, infrastructure development, TVET sports, and curriculum review.

Mrs. Mange was able to outsource opportunities abroad for the realisation of the above pillars for our people.

On behalf of the SRC I’m saying, Malibonge Igama lama Khosikazi!”, said Shabalala.

Basani Hlekane Vhembe, TVET College Principal reminisced over some memories she shared with her late friend.

“The memories I have with Portia, they relate to almost everything in life that one of you know about her.

You knew her as a mother, a colleague, a wife, in church but I was privileged to know her from all sides.

We shared everything and travelled a lot.”, said Principal.

The Evander Campus Manager, Jabhi Nkosi indicated that the college will keep the legacy of Mrs. Mange and they have an idea in the pipeline to name one of the college campuses before her.

“A memorial lecture doesn’t happen to everyone.

A memorial lecture is done for a legend with a purpose.

We honor this because Mrs. Mange was not just any other person but a legend. Hopefully next year around this time, through this pronouncement; DDG, Mr. Mabe, College Council and the labor we want to open a campus with a new name ‘Portia Mange Campus’”, said Nkosi.

Deputy Director General, Sam Zungu extended credit to the Mange family for allowing the college to commemorate one of their own.

“Let me extend my greetings to the Mange family and also say thank you for allowing us as the Department and the Institution for the opportunity to honour our own heroine, a giant of the giants that we worked with over the years.

How defeating it is for us to honor this gigantic heroine in the month of August which is women’s month.

Mrs. Mange is one of the standards and heroines, not only in the TVET Sector but the entire South African Education System.

She was indeed a visionary and a forward thinker, hence I find this thing to be so defeating in defining what she strived and lived for.

And I would like to give this memorial lecture a theme called ‘Recalling South African Youth for the 21st Century challenges through a responsive and relevant TVET system’ because that’s what she thrived for.

In all the work it was about young people, those less privileged and how they can be emancipated so that they can get better opportunities for better living.”, said Zungu.

Molifi Mabe, Acting GS College Principal gave the vote of thanks.

Mr. Mabe directed his acknowledgments to the DDG, College Council, the Regional Office, delegates from sister colleges, key stakeholders to the TVET sector and the Gert Sibande TVET College family at liberty.

‘Long live the spirit of Portia Mange, Long live!’

From left: Mr Jannie Pristorious, Mr Molefie Mabe, DDG N. Zungu, Mr Mange (husband of the late Portia Mange, Ms Basani Hlekani and Dr Nick Balkrieshen