Hellen Keller once said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Sanele Mlotshwa the Rector of Majuba TVET College is the very embodiment of professionalism. His journey a path of hard work, perseverance and dedication.
As a cornerstone of the Newcastle community, Mlotshwa is known as a man who believes in the power of education and commitment. Steering the tertiary education institute to greatness, while encouraging learners to pursue their full potential.
But who is the man behind the reins of Majuba TVET College?
“I was born and bred in a town near Pietermaritzburg called Howick. I did my schooling there and when I was in Grade 12, my father passed away and I didn’t have much of a support structure, as my mother wasn’t working at the time.”
Facing overwhelming odds, Mlotshwa decided to face life’s challenges head on and rise above the circumstances.
“I matriculated in 1987 and started working in a supermarket in 1988. I was then given the opportunity to take on a temporary teaching position at Enzimane Combined school in Utrecht.”
It was this opportunity that set Mlotshwa on his life’s journey. To better his life and the lives of the learners who he came into contact with, Mlotshwa began working on his tertiary education.
Mlotshwa obtained his Human Resource Management Diploma in 1998 through Damelin. This was followed by a Diploma in Education in 1999 from the South Africa College for Teachers’ Education.
In 2002, Mlotshwa obtained his higher diploma in education. Then in 2006, he received his Bachelor of Education Honours degree from North West University.
Then in 2007, Mlothswa furthered his education by receiving two certificates. One for Computer Literacy from Majuba TVET College and the second for HIV/AIDS care and counselling from Unisa.
But these are not his only educational qualifications. In 2011, he received a diploma in Theology from Glory to God Bible College. This was followed by him obtaining an advanced diploma in theology 2012.
In 2018, Mlotshwa obtained a Bachelors Degree in Public Management from Richfield Graduate Institute.
All this, he managed to do while working and establishing himself in the world of education.
During his time at Enzimane Combined School, Mlotshwa was involved in virtually every facet of the school. “I became principal in 2000 and was involved in both the choir and drum majorettes, as well as trained soccer.”
Through his dedication, the choir and drum majorettes both went to the nationals and excelled within their relevant categories.
While working at the school, Mlotshwa joined the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) in 1995. A move which saw him take the role of sports, arts and culture convenor in 1997, solidifying his passion for seeing his learners reach their full potential.
He is also responsible for the school being a combined school catering for both primary and high school learners, as it was only a primary school when he started. By the time he had left, the school offered classes from Grade R to Grade 12.
From 2006 to 2009, Mlotshwa also served as the Northern Natal Regional Secerarty for SADTU, servicing the Amajuba, Umzinyathi and Uthukela regions.
In 2007, Mlotshwa was appointed to Majuba TVET Council by former MEC Ina Cronje.
Always pursuing excellence, in 2009, Mlotshwa was made Chief Education Specialist in the Circuit management for Umzinyati region. Which oversaw 200 schools under his wing. With the respective schools not excelling, Mlothshwa made it his mission to see the pass rates rise.
A feat which he obtained. In the Nquthu area alone, the pass rate went up from 40% to over an impressive 70% during his time as the Chief Education Specialist.
A feat he believes was possible because he believes one needs to be actively involved with the schools, when given the opportunity.
Always learning and pushing himself, Mlotshwa decided to pursue a full-time career at Majuba TVET College. “In 2014, the position of the Rector came up and by then, I had learned a lot and obtained a substantial amount of experience and I decided to apply. The interview was successful, and I was appointed on 16 May 2014.”
Since taking the role as Rector, Mlotshwa has ensured student protests have been minimised, allowing the students to work alongside their educators. He has also enhanced the image of Majuba TVET College, making it one of the most desirable tertiary institutions in the area.
Such has his performance been, that he was elected as the deputy president of the South African College Principals Association in 2018, before taking the role of president this year February.
For the next two years, Mlothswa will be overseeing TVET principals around the country, working closely with them, to ensure education always remains their focal point.
While focusing on local education, Mlotshwa also travels on a regular basis to promote education.
“I visited Ghana in 2007 to attend an international conference of illiteracy, where I gave a paper. Then in 2008, I went to Germany to attend the Newcastle Alliance Summit.”
This visit was followed by a visit to Belfast University in the United Kingdom in 2010 for a cohesive education conference.
In 2011, Mlotshwa went to India, visiting both New Delhi and Mumbai for a comparitive study on TVET education.
Then in 2012, Mlotshwa went to Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK for a Newcastle Alliance Summit.
While dedicating his life to education and the upliftment of learners, Mlotshwa is a devout Christian and is a pastor at the Annointed Christian Centre. Doing his part to help community members with their spiritual needs.
In fact, from 1992 to 2008, Mlotshwa also served as the president and animator for the Roman Catholic Youth for Christ in Madadeni.
As he focuses on the community’s educational and spiritual needs on a regular basis, Mlotshwa is also a dedicated family man. Devoted to his wife, Mpume, his eight-year-old son Mcebo, and three-year-old daughter Nongcebo.
From working in a supermarket to building himself up to a man of epic proportions, Sanele Mlotshwa is truly the personification of hard work and dedication and is a true Newcastillian.