Voice of Zenex Partners


The foundation of education

Melissa van Rensburg, Grade 1 - 3 Literacy, Numeracy and Life Orientation, Eastville Primary School. Part of Literacy Project.

Discovering the teacher inside

When I matriculated I wanted to be a social worker, but I felt that I needed a background in working with children so I volunteered at a local Early Childhood Development Centre that my aunt ran. I enjoyed working with children and did Level Fundamentals for Early Child Development and became a Grade R teacher. My lecturer told me that she could see a teacher in me, so I decided to further my studies. I got a bursary and the rest is history.


Practical experience: where teachers truly learn

Elizabeth Mbatha, Grade 3 Literacy, Numeracy and Life Orientation teacher, Highlands Primary School

Career change

My teaching journey began in 2013. Until 2003 I was in the corporate world, working for one of the Big Four banks in South Africa. But, 13 years ago I resigned to be a full-time mom. My husband and I decided together that it would be better if I was at home to support my children. However, by 2009 it was becoming tough with only one income in the household, so I started looking for work again. However, instead of taking a job, I decided to study to become a teacher.

The pursuit of positive difference

The pursuit of positive difference

Nonkululeko Mabhida – Physical Science Teacher, Grade 8- 12. Ogwini Comprehensive Technical High School. Part of the Inkanyezi Project.

The day teaching chose me

I wanted to go into engineering. I had done a diploma in Electrical Engineering and was working on Design in Engineering when I needed part-time work because of financial constraints. It was then that I found part-time work at Ogwini as a science teacher in 2008. Although this work enabled me to pay my fees and obtain my qualification, you could say that teaching chose me!

It just felt right, and life was more stable. We started seeing real improvements in the performance of learners in science and that’s when I made the decision to stay and make a real positive difference in learners’ lives.

Teaching in South Africa

Teaching in South Africa

Tiisetso Rabolao, Grade 8 Mathematics teacher, Grade 9 Natural Science teacher, Moditela Middle School, Hammanskraal. TEACH South Africa Ambassador.

To teach or not to teach?

I have a BSc in Geology, which I obtained in 2013. I initially did not want to be a teacher, which is why I did not do a Bachelor’s degree in Education. However, I tutored students throughout university and I started to enjoy teaching. That’s why I applied to be part of the TEACH South Africa programme, and was selected in 2014.

I underwent training for two weeks at the end of 2014 and started teaching in 2015. I enjoy working with young people; to educate them is not just about academics. It is also about life in general and what they should expect from life after school.

The magic of teaching

The magic of teaching

Takalani Siala, Grade 8 - 12 Mathematics teacher, Dominican Convent, Belgravia, Johannesburg. Part of Zenex-ISASA Mathematics & English Project.

The road to the classroom

I wanted to be a pilot when I was in high school. I had a few bursary offers when I completed Grade 12, but the teaching bursary was the most lucrative. It included a stipend, which meant that I could start helping at home in Limpopo while studying. So I took the bursary.

However, as you grow your priorities change – it was no longer about money. I had been chasing money long enough, now it had become bigger than that. I have no regrets taking the teaching bursary because I fell in love with teaching from the start. I realised that I wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives. I started as a teacher after obtaining my BEd. That was in 2006, while doing Honours part time.

Live to learn

Live to learn

Bilal Mohamed: Physical Science – Grade 10, 11 and 12, Ridge Park College, KwaZulu-Natal

I am incredibly fortunate to have been part of the Zenex Inkanyezi Project since its inception at Ridge Park College in 2009. The project involves tutoring learners that have been selected by Zenex. We do the tutoring on Saturdays and after school – it all depends on the needs of the learners. I am very proud that Zenex has afforded me the opportunity of presenting at teacher workshops – the cherry on the cake was presenting at the South African Basic Education Conference in 2014 in Gauteng!

Finding our feet

When Zenex arrived at the school to present the project, I had no idea what it was all about, but saw this as an opportunity to climb on board with something that truly matters. After all these years, I still have a burning passion for teaching and it was inspiring to know there was an opportunity to give back, and so I jumped at the opportunity.

Taking education personally

Taking education personally

Busi Sishi, Agricultural Sciences teacher at Ogwini Comprehensive High School. Project coordinator for Inkanyezi Project.

I started with Zenex-Inkanyezi Project in 2009. I had no idea what the project was about – we were advised that the school would be part of a project and there was an appeal for coordinators, and so I applied. Here in the township we had never had experience with projects such as these.

It has been a fantastic learning curve. At the beginning I had never worked with a budget. Here there were huge amounts of money and I had to be responsible for how this money was spent. The way I saw it then was that this job needed an accountant or business manager – how could I do this? I am grateful to Ms Wendy Heard – she took me under her wing and taught me the basics of budgeting. I learnt how to track costs and expenditure, as well as how to track the project.

A Calling to Read

A Calling to Read

Cebisa Ndlazi, English teacher, Nompendulo High School, Zwelitsha, Eastern Cape. Cebisa was part of the ISEA Project.

Teaching is a calling; it’s about the love of the profession. I started in 1985 and have been an English teacher at Nompendulo High School ever since. The number of learners at Nompendulo High has been going down over the years. We used to have over 1000 learners and 35 teachers. Now we only have 123 learners from Grade 8 to 12, and 13 teachers, including the principal.

Learners prefer schools in town and Nompendulo has been particularly affected by this.

I have been able to stay this long in teaching and have a passion for my work because it is a calling, but I will be retiring in a few years’ time, and plan to start a reading club as I will have a lot of spare time!