Byline: Levhuwani Matumba

7 September 2021

The Leandra born Njabulo Mngoma break boundaries irrespective of his challenging home background‭.‬

Being raised by his late grandmother whom he respects so much‭, ‬Njabulo set goals for himself and did not allow anything to deter‭ ‬him‭.‬

“While I was in secondary school‭, ‬I will wake up as early as 3am with my grandmother and collect bottles for recycling‭,‬”‭ ‬said Njabulo who immediately became emotional when narrating his upbringing‭, ‬also thinking that if his grandmother was still alive‭, ‬she would have been very excited for him‭. ‬

“My matric results were not that good considering that my grandmother started to get sick‭, ‬and I had to rush from school every day so that I am able to cook for her‭.‬”

After matric he registered at Gert Sibande TVET College‭, ‬Evander Campus for Mechanical Engineering‭. ‬

“Luckily I was the last person to be registered at ERD‭.‬

I forced because they said there is no space and when the lady asked me whether I am on the waiting list‭, ‬I responded‭ ‬‘yes’‭.‬

I was referred to Mr Taylor and on arrival he said he cannot help me‭, ‬but I did not move as I quickly remembered where I come from‭. ‬

I just stood there and look at him‭,‬”‭ ‬said Njabulo explaining how he finally got to register‭.‬

Since he arrived at the GS TVET College‭, ‬he was exposed to so many things and began to be active in politics‭. ‬

Besides being in politics as a Sasco member‭, ‬Njabulo dedicate his time by teaching other learners during extra classes‭. ‬

“Njabulo is a selfless young man who always avail himself to assist other learners and he also groom them to continue with what he is doing‭,‬”‭ ‬said Ms Ncumisa Mdlankomo who is a lecturer at Gert Sibande TVET College‭. ‬

According to him‭, ‬being in politics helped him to realize that he is not the only one who is coming from disadvantaged background‭. ‬

When asked whether the government is doing enough to assist students‭, ‬Njabulo said‭ ‬“I think the government is doing a lot because I am also a beneficiary of NSFAS and with the money I receive‭, ‬I am able to take care of my siblings at home‭.‬”

By representing the province during the national debate‭, ‬Njabulo explained that it was also a turning point in his life since he‭ ‬learned a lot from it‭. ‬

The debate covered topics in quality education‭, ‬improved health services‭, ‬child support grant and the gender-based violence‭. ‬

Njabulo earned his space at the national competition as he started by competing at the campus‭, ‬two of them proceeded to the inter college in Ermelo where he competed with students from other six campuses‭.‬

From the inter college‭, ‬only two of them proceeded to the national competing with students from fifty colleges in the country‭. ‬

“Competing at a national level was not easy because I competed with students who went to better schools and are also in better colleges than us‭.‬

We were only given twenty minutes to prepare for a topic‭.‬”

The two from Gert Sibande TVET College and others from Ehlanzeni and Nkangala were integrated with students from North West Province‭. ‬

“I first thought our group did not make it during the first round and when our name was announced‭, ‬I jumped with excitement‭.‬

In our group I was the first speaker and that put pressure in me because should I mess up‭, ‬it will also affect other members‭. ‬

Even the lady who won the best female speaker came and thanked me for my contribution on the group‭.‬”

Njabulo said the encouragement he received from his lecturers and mentors made him believe in himself‭.‬

He further mentioned that while they were waiting for the final day‭, ‬one of his lecturers sent him a prank message that he should get someone to collect his food parcels and that reminded him of where he comes from‭. ‬

“I immediately woke up and started to prepare for the next day‭.‬”

What he brought back from the competition was the words of encouragement he received from other students‭, ‬his mentor and one of‭ ‬the adjudicators who kept on telling him he is the best speaker who is also able to attract audience and make them believe in what he is saying‭.‬

His group won the National Champion Debate 2021‭.‬

In Closure Seskhona Media reporter Ms Levhuwani Matumba asked him where he wants to see himself in future‭.‬

“I would like to touch as many lives as possible and be a lecture before I embark on my journey to be in parliament so that I can‭ ‬serve the country‭.‬

The reason I want to touch as many lives as I can before I go to parliament is because I do not know how my life will turn into‭ ‬while I am in parliament‭.‬”

Njabulo Mngoma (third from right) at the national TVET Colleges debate championship.