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Sphesihle Mbokazi - Faint heart never won fair maiden

If one is to make a vivid reflection and introspection about one’s background and upbringing, its nothing short of wonder, excitement and triumph. Perseverance, resilience, hope and respect are essentailly life’s fundamental principles and values which I had the privilege to observe and experience from a very young age. Still to this day, when I reflect to the earlier days of our lives as a family, in terms of standard of living and quality of life, the question lingers” How did both of my parents endure and made it through the storms, trials and tribulations that life thrown at them?”.


As I grew older, I got to understand that my family, especially my parents had such greater degree of hope which meant the ability to believe in the unknown, that one day life will change for the better for the family, inspite of the current life’s challenges. My late Father was the only breadwinner at the time and somehow managed to ensure that we had a roof over our heads, were all medically taken care of and most importantly, never went to bed without plate of food every night.


As years went by, my Mother enrolled at a College of Education to become a school educator and we were left home with my father looking after us. What I witnessed as young as I was, was the level of respect and perseverance my parents exercised towards the betterment of us as a family. As I come from a family of educators, it needless to say that, discipline and respect was mandatory at home and school work came before sports and any other extra mural activities. High crime rates, high levels of unemployment and despondency are some the prevalent characteristics defining Umlazi Township, South West of Durban, where I grew up.


It became compelling that one needed to choose a path that sets you apart from the rest, in the township. Even though my parents were never flawless, however, it was pleasing to see my parent’s desire for success superseding the any degree of fear and uncertainty. My Mother has always been a praying woman, puts God before everything and today can vividly attest to GOD’s wonderful miracles He has downed upon us as a family. Regardless, how hard life can get, my parents have always instilled a sense of hope and perseverance until a desired outcome is reached.


They believed and said that, a human being/s is defined by “their patience when they have nothing and their attitude when they seemingly have everything”. Never to be afraid to take risks worth taking! This is how they managed to ensure that we had a life that was perceived as “better” or slightly privileged from other children who weren’t as fortunate.


When I got into high school and seemingly doing well in subjects like business economics and economics and being top of my class throughout, I together with other school mates from other grades were selected to participate in the Junior Achievements Programme. This programme was aimed at the grade 10-11s across different high schools in Durban. I performed extremely well in these subjects having observed how my Grandfather from my Mother’s side ran his store in the farm at the south coast. I’d usually visit my grandparents during school holidays. My mother as well used to sell fresh sandwiches to school teachers in the nearby school.


The Junior Achievements programme was a 12-week intensive business programme whereby learners teamed up to start and run a business. In this programme, my group took the first spot. The following are critical business skills attained:


Work readiness - teamwork, communication, integrity ethics and problem-solving


Entrepreneurial - goal setting and initiative Leadership and responsibility, creativity, Perseverance Resourcefulness


Financial Literacy - Money and risk management, Decision making, Negotiation and resilience.

This programme and the experiences shared in the family profoundly cultivated my interest into business.


With the utmost respect to my parents as school educators, I’ve always wanted to follow their footsteps in the teaching profession but not until I was retired. One of us as children needed to take it to the next level and think bigger and broudly, outside the borders of society. After graduating from DUT, I got employed by Dept of Health as a training officer, whereby we would be assigned to different hospitals around KZN to conduct trainings and only send feedback reports to head office. Feedback reports from delegates undergoing training were predominantly positive suggesting my ability and capability to impart knowledge and skill.


This was around the time when I began learning about accreditation processes and development of the quality management system. I was really showing greater ambitions towards becoming an entrepreneur. My services were rendered to the department for five years and subsequently resigned to pursue an establishment of an accredited training business. There was still lots to learn in this field, however, I told myself that I’ll always remain a humble student to acquire as much knowledge and understanding, which to this day, I still am.


My desire for success exceeded the degree of failure which was a quality learnt and experienced from both my parents at a very young age. Years later, I with family got the business accredited by LGSETA which enabled us to provide accredited training to local government. Realizing the greater need for training and development across the spectrum, we then decided to extend our scope of accreditation into NATED (N4-N6) courses which are accredited by QCTO and registered with DHET, enabling us to provide education and training to post matriculants. High levels of despondency due to unemployment have brought about the prevalent skills mismatch and skills gaps in the South African context.

Sphesihle Mbokazi
Sphesihle Mbokazi

It is for this reason that we have once again extended our accreditation scope into Technical – Tradesman courses. Such courses are fundamental in addressing the current unemployment rates by providing trade related skills to delegates. Upon completing a competency assessment, delegates can facilitate opportunities for self and formal employment within the areas they reside in, thus promoting economic activity. The unemployed, unskilled-semi skilled, those already in the field and RPL are eligible to undertake artisan trainings. This is how a two year old TVET in Pathways Institute came into being.

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