Abongile Nofombo, a 30-year-old male from the Mfuleni Township in Cape Town, always knew that he was destined to become a teacher. Growing up in a disadvantaged community, he witnessed firsthand the challenges that young people face in accessing quality education. He knew that he wanted to make a difference and help transform the lives of other learners.
"I found it to be a calling because all I know is that I love teaching. I fell in love with teaching in high school while teaching my classmates Mathematics and Physical Science. So it became something I developed a love for since Grade 10"
Today, a typical day in Abongile's life starts with waking up to teach Math to his class of learners, rotating between Grades 4, 5 and 6, in Mfuleni's Bardale Primary School. However, the teacher's educational journey began much earlier than the present day.
After completing high school at Manzomthombo Senior Secondary School in 2012, he enrolled for a Diploma in Chemical Engineering at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) the following year. He then completed the programme, only to not land employment despite his hard work.
"I finished the course and ended up desperately searching for employment but couldn't find any at the time. I then decided to start building cupboards with my father. After I realised I needed to return to school to find stability in my life. So I took up teaching and now I'm a teacher"
This is when he decided to join his father in providing carpentry services to the community before returning to university to pursue further studies in Education. Determined to become a teacher, he enrolled for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at UWC and completed the qualification in 2019.
He then joined his current school in early 2021 and has been working ever since. Abongile describes his passion for teaching as being evident the moment he steps into the classroom.
He has a natural ability to connect with his learners and make learning fun and engaging, and as a result, his learners love and look up to him as a role model and mentor.
He then officially joined his current school as a Mathematics teacher in early 2021 and has been with them ever since. Abongile describes his passion for teaching as being evident the moment he steps into the classroom. He has a natural ability to connect with his learners and make learning fun and engaging, and as a result, his learners love and look up to him as a role model and mentor.
The young school teacher also credits his father, Nelson Nontana Nomfombo, who is also a co-founder of their carpentry company, as having had a strong influence on his upbringing.
" Well...my dad is the person who has had the biggest impact on my life because he coached me and showed me most of the things that I have learnt and know so far. In this world, you have to understand that no one owes anything and that if you want something, you're gonna have to pursue it" he adds.
Abongile goes on to say that he has future aspirations of one day being able to manage his school while expanding his business and sharing as much of his practical skills and knowledge as possible.
Often nicknamed "Titshala", which means teacher in isiXhosa, Abongile is a respected member of the teaching community where resides and has achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher and aims to make a real difference in the lives of his learners.
His story is a testament to the power of determination and the importance of following your dreams. He serves as an inspiration to young people around his community who aspire to become teachers and make a positive impact in their communities.