Stories of our Students

WE BELIEVE IN DREAMS

Our students reach for the stars, below are some of the many stories of our successes.

SIMPHIWE VILAKAZI

BSc Hons Mechanical Engineering UKZN

Simphiwe was born outside of KwaZulu-Natal in Secunda, but moved to Pietermaritzburg with his family as a young boy. He attended Fundokuhle Secondary School in Imbali, and matriculated in 2013. He attended PROTEC Pmb for three years, and was delighted to be advised to study Mechanical Engineering during Grade 12 Career Guidance. He was very fortunate to benefit from a Hulamin Bursary, and was offered the position of “Engineer in Training” at Hulamin upon graduation. He explained that this post-grad training will take him through all of the Hulamin Rolling Mill and finishing stages in the Aluminium Mill in Pietermaritzburg; this is superb training. He is keen to enter the Hulamin Management and Development Programme, and also to study further to obtain his MSc – possibly in fluid mechanics!
Stories of success from Protec PMB students
Stories of success from Protec PMB students

SIHLE NGCOBO

BEd Hons – Mathematics Teacher

Sihle was a kind and gentle young man who just always “got on with things” as a student, and we were surprised and delighted when he popped into the office in July 2019,  to update us on his post-matric progress.

He was fortunate to be accepted into the BEd Witwatersrand University (Teaching) degree in 2013, but coming from a very poor community, he could not afford to return home to Pietermaritzburg as often as he would have liked. 

His final Teaching Prac whilst at Wits, was to teach Maths and Physical Science at the very well-resourced, independent Beaulieu College (Secondary School) in Kyalami, Midrand, Gauteng. 

Sihle’s obvious excellent grasp of Maths/Science concepts, as well as his outstanding teaching ability, soon came to the attention of the College’s Management and he was offered a teaching post there once he had graduated. As a result, he has been teaching there for the past 2,5 years. His confidence and personal growth has been enormously developed in the intervening years – just wonderful to observe. 

This is only the second instance of a teacher associated with PROTEC Pmb, gaining admission into an independent (ISASA and IEB) School.   The first was Mr Nkanyiso Ngcobo, one of our previous Physical Science Tutors, who now teaches at the prestigious Michaelhouse School in the KZN Midlands.

Nonkululeko Ntinga

Operations Research Specialist at Mondi

Nonkululeko Ntinga is an Operations Research Specialist at Mondi, South Africa. She attended Protec and Matriculated in 2007, where she was the top student. After that, she was awarded a Mondi Bursary to study Forestry and completed a National Diploma in Forestry at Nelson Mandela University (2010) and B.Sc. Forestry at Stellenbosch University (2014). Currently, she is a member of the Protec Board.

Being part of the Protec family was the best decision I have ever made. I was able to interact with several like-minded students from various backgrounds. The Saturday School classes taught me the importance of going the extra mile in everything you do, and we were proud to be the students who had a six-day school week. I will forever be thankful for the career guidance of the various available careers in STEM in the form of WOW, Vula Programme, and post students popping in to give a speech.

Protec provided a young girl raised by a single parent with all the essential tools to build a career in STEM, and now she can proudly call herself a WOMAN in STEM.

Stories of success from Protec PMB students
Stories of success from Protec PMB students

Phindiwe Qungani

BSc Hons Degree – Environmental Officer, in charge of Water Quality

Phindy was born in Pietermaritzburg and attended PROTEC Pmb, matriculating in 1999. She started her tertiary studies at NMU, and later at Stellies studying Forestry, where she attained her BSc Hons Degree.

She popped into PROTEC in October 2017 to introduce herself, so that we could catch up. Phindy initially worked for MONDI Forestry from 2011 – 2013, thereafter she moved to the Ethekwini Metropole, working for Ethekwini Water & Sanitation as an Environmental Officer, in charge of Water Quality.

Always a bubbly, enthusiastic personality, Phindy is remembered for her passion for the environment.

CEBOLENKOSI MBHELE

Junior Housemanship Year of MB ChB

“Ceb” was born in Bruntville in 1997, located alongside the N3 corridor in Mooi River, KwaZulu Natal. He was schooled at Estcourt Secondary School, and after hearing about PROTEC Pmb in Grade 9, he would travel through to Pietermaritzburg on a Friday evening to stay with his Aunt.

Ceb attended PROTEC Pmb from Grade 9 – 12.  In his Grade 12 Year, he was not only voted in (by his Classmates) as Class Rep once again at PROTEC Pmb, but was nominated by everyone as the recipient of the PROTEC Pmb Ubuntu Prize Winner in 2015. This prestigious award is made to the student who shows compassion for his peers, respects his Tutors and Seniors, and fosters a culture of fellowship and Ubuntu wherever he travels. Matriculating in 2015, Ceb achieved excellent results and was accepted into the Medical Faculty at the University of Stellenbosch.

It did not take him long to make his mark there either; within 2 years he was voted in as Primarius or Leader of his University Residence. He has participated in countless charity and outreach activities there, and as a 5th Year MB BCh student in 2020 at the University of Stellenbosch, he has been working on Clinic Studies in the Tygerberg Hospital in Belville, and its associated Clinics.  Being directly involved in the frontline against the Covid-19 Pandemic has certainly challenged all of the 5th Year students, but Ceb and his teams of committed charity workers already have acquired amazing clinical skills which they are now using in the fight against Covid-19 in the Western Cape. Watch this space, this is not the last we will be hearing of Cebolenkosi Mbhele, who is now in his Junior Housemanship Year of MB ChB. He is Dr Mbhele!

Stories of success from Protec PMB students
Stories of success from Protec PMB students

KWANELE NDUMO

National Diploma – Electrical Engineering (Heavy Current) DUT

Kwanele was born in Edendale Hospital in 1997, and attended Linpark High School in Pietermaritzburg.

As an ex-Model C School, Kwanele had to study English as a Home Language – not an easy challenge for a young man from a Zulu-speaking family. But ever the positive optimist, Kwanele tackled this obstacle head on, and with PROTEC Pmb’s assistance, he obtained a good matric result thereby gaining admission to the Durban University of Technology, Steve Biko Campus in Durban.

Kwanele chose to study Electrical Engineering (Heavy Current) and gained his National Diploma in March 2020, just as the Covid-19 Pandemic engulfed South Africa.  To obtain a National Diploma, students have to undertake both theoretical study semesters of 6 months, alternating with practical, experiential semesters in an appropriate workplace.  Sadly as the South African economy has floundered over the past 18 months, so have spaces for experiential learning disappeared. 

DUT which is supposed to help place their students in companies, does not really assist. PROTEC Pmb normally notifies Donors of suitable students looking for placements, but as government contracts leading to work in various industries have all but dried up in KwaZulu-Natal, Donors have not been able to assist either. As a result Kwanele really battled to find his final Practical placement – eventually locating work in Ladysmith at a Solar Energy Company – thank goodness!

He has now completed all courses and practical requirements for his National Diploma and Graduated in March 2020 during the Pandemic; he also let us know recently that his registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa was approved recently. 

We were absolutely delighted with the Human Resources Department of Preformed Line Products SA contacted us recently, looking for newly qualified, talent young engineers and we were able to recommend Kwanele to them.  He went through a series of assessments and interviews and was soon offered a Graduate Internship with a view to it being made into a permanent appointment within six months. This was excellent news, and we wish Kwanele all the very best.

Buyile Mzobe

MONDI Forestry Traineeship

Buyile Mzobe is from the rural area of Maqongqo, found East of Table Mountain, KZN. Her father gives lifts to children, to and from school, and her mother sells harvested from their garden and they also sell eggs from their chickens. Her parents managed to put her through PROTEC where she did exceptionally well.

After submitting her matric results, completing her psychometric exam, and physical fitness test, she has been accepted into the MONDI Forestry Traineeship 2021!

Stories of success from Protec PMB students
Stories of our Monks Cowl Camp in 2021

MCSA KZN / PROTEC PMB Camp to Monk’s Cowl 2021 : a dream come alive

Following some informal discussions between Graeme Bruschi (MCSA-KZN Access) and Rose Smuts (Exec Director – PROTEC Pmb), it was decided that the 2021 PROTEC Pmb Grade 10 Personal Development Camp would re-energise and move out of the KZN Midlands.

Enticed by being exposed to exciting Drakensberg vistas and incorporating both the setting of personal goals, and putting some ecological skills gleaned from Life Sciences Ecology, (ie alien vegetation eradication), which should be taught practically rather than from a textbook, along with hiking, canoeing, horse-riding instruction, and considering that this Camp had not been held in 2020 owing to Covid-19 Pandemic lockdowns, what was offered by Mix Geytenbeek (MCSA-KZN Outreach) & Carl Dreyer (MCSA-KZN President) was a dream come alive for children from disadvantaged communities in the greater Pietermaritzburg and KZN Midlands region – many of whom had never been away from home, on a trip anywhere!

With this in mind, the venue of Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort was settled upon, along with the Monk’s Cowl Forestry Rangers based up the road, the PROTEC Grade 10 students would learn about the ecological importance of the task of eliminating plant aliens in the Monk’s Cowl area.

Mr Sisanda Mkhwanazi, post-PROTEC Pmb Student and Mathematics Teacher who had attended many previous Grade 10 PROTEC Pmb Camps, accompanied the Group who gathered at PROTEC Pmb on Friday, 21st May 2021. Tearful Moms and some siblings, gathered in Pine Street to wave them off!  It had become extremely cold in KZN, and with MCSA-KZN sponsoring accommodation and food, PROTEC Pmb was able to sponsor warm padded jackets for all of the students – this made a big difference to their personal comfort! 😊

One must remember that PROTEC Pmb students are selected on their potential to excel in Mathematics, and therefore, in the Sciences.  This opens up the entire field of Technological Careers, those careers demanding excellence in Maths and the Sciences – hence PROTEC’s name – Programme for Technological Careers.

 Selecting students according to their academic potential, means that our students come from over 30 different Secondary Schools in our region – so, this Camp has as one of its main objectives, the opportunity for our students to really get to know and befriend their PROTEC Pmb peers.  Mr Mkhwanazi who attends these camps, also observes the students and gently attends to any discord or homesickness. The students are encouraged to look out for one another, and return home as a far better-bonded Class, than the group of Grade 10s which left on Camp only a few days earlier.  The transformation is always remarkable.  It is not only friendships which are consolidated;  this Class has subsequent to the Camp, been punctual, shown 100% attendance and displayed great manners – thanks & greetings!  I could go on and on.  The benefits of this camp have been many – you really did a wonderful thing MCSA – KZN!

Upon returning home, some members of this Class also qualified for receiving some smart-phone handsets (sponsored by another donor), so that they could receive our Saturday and Vacation School programmes which are currently being transmitted on WhatsApp owing to Covid-19 lockdowns. These cheap smartphones take Pep Cell C WhatsApp linked data (R30,00 per 1 GB) which lasts for 30 days, and enables our students to attend those Saturday and Vacation School programmes, for those 30 days – cheap yet ingenious!  We offer:  Mathematics,  Physical Science,  Life Sciences,  English and World of Work (Life Skills & Career Guidance) to Grades 9 – 12.

The story does not end here however:

With MCSA-KZN insisting upon sponsoring the accommodation and food for the Personal Development Camp, our Donor which had already undertaken to sponsor this camp for us in 2021, has recently agreed that these funds can be used instead, to help modify a building PROTEC Pmb has purchased as its own property – after 31 years of renting accommodation! 

This is really such a wonderful final instalment to this great story of 2021; although the funding may not be in the R100 000s, it nevertheless will go a long way to installing dry-walling, doors and extra  toilets into our “new” premises in Clarendon, Pietermaritzburg.  This is a very big, long-awaited step for PROTEC Pietermaritzburg Academy, aka PROTEC Pmb, and once again we thank the MCSA-KZN for being there for us in May 2021 😊

Stories of our Monks Cowl Camp in 2021
Stories of our Monks Cowl Camp in 2021
Stories of our Monks Cowl Camp in 2021
Stories of our Monks Cowl Camp in 2021
Stories of success from Protec PMB students

PHILANI MBANJWA

Philani Mbanjwa joined PROTEC Pmb at the beginning of 2018 – his Grade 11 Year.  He was fortunate in that we had a space available, and he managed to pass the Maths Entrance Test with 66% (at the level of Grade 10 Maths).  Philani lives in Imbali (in the Edendale valley), with his Parents, both of whom are tragically unemployed.  They survive as a family from the Child Grant Philani qualified for (whilst younger than 18y), part-time “piece” jobs, and the occasional cash from an elder child who also occasionally gets a “piece” job.  Upon joining us, Philani’s dream career was given as “Medicine, Engineering or Accounting” – he attends Nsikayethu Secondary School in Imbali.

So having laid all of this out, we are thrilled to announce that Philani has applied for both Pharmacy and Accounting in 2020, along with NSFAS and the appropriate tertiary study bursaries. His and his family’s lives could all change for the better within 5 – 10 years!I think that the most significant trend has been his steady, positive progress made in Mathematics and the Sciences. I think it is also shocking to view the Class Averages in a Grade 12 Class in June 2019 – herein, Maths, the Sciences and Accounting all fall very short of the desired 60% Class Average for a Matric Class at this time of the final year of Secondary School. Philani’s Accounting has also improved some 10%, possibly a spin-off from his improved confidence and performance in Maths. (He queried his 44% in LO and it appears his Class’s LO Teacher has not included an item he submitted for his portfolio. There is no final exam in LO – just the portfolio mark. LO Teachers are notoriously irresponsible in administering these portfolios)

SIFISO KUNENE

BSc Hons UKZN, Civil Engineering

Sifiso Kunene joined PROTEC Pmb in 2012 as a young lad in Grade 11, studying at Linpark High School. He always appeared confident, and was firm in his choice of studying Civil Engineering one day – the PROTEC Pmb MBTI and Self Guided Assessment in Grade 12 Career Guidance confirmed this as a most suitable choice of career for Sifiso. He had discovered that his Physical Science Teacher at School was in fact, unqualified being a Biology Teacher. As a result his marks had dropped; being at PROTEC Pmb had helped him to improve his knowledge and results to the upper 70s, and was in no small way key to him being accepted into UKZN to study Civil Engineering in 2014.

During his Matric year, he also applied for the N3 Toll Concession Civil Engineering Bursary – which he was awarded by Mr Con Roux. Con counselled Sifiso throughout his undergrad years at UKZN, and Sifiso and his Mum are incredibly grateful to Con for this support. During this time, Sifiso was awarded an UKZN Merit Certificate for Engineering Graphical Design, and he was able to maintain an overall 63% aggregate across the board for all of his courses during his Final (4th) Year. Sifiso’s Honours Thesis involved a study of the Carbon Footprint of Pavement Materials used in road building, and some of the practical experience he gained included work on the new Cornubia, Umhlanga road network development.

Sifiso is very much an all-rounder, having always been interested in sport – and in Squash in particular. He recently received the KZN Midlands Squash Association’s Most Improved Player award, and also represented UKZN in Squash at the Intervarsity at NMMU in November 2018. Sifiso graduated in April 2019, and recently applied for a new environmentally and safety conscious civil engineering position at SAPPI Forestry! We have just heard that he was awarded the position after a set of stringent interviewing conditions and tasks – we are so proud!

Stories of success from Protec PMB students

WE BELIEVE IN DREAMS

Our students reach for the stars, below are some of the many stories of our successes.

Past Students

%

Matric Pass

%

University Admission

Our 2023 Matric Class

Excelling under adversity
100% pass rate with 66 distinctions compared to the national pass rate of 80,1%
100% bachelors degree admission compared to national rate of 40,9%

Have some questions? Send us a message...

23 Roberts Road, PMB
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa,
3201

073 617 0378

Ms Valencia Mzila - Programme Administrator