An Inspirational Path to Teaching Excellence
December 14, 2023
In the heart of the Eastern Cape, the inspiring story of Thenjelwa Pholiswa Mxaku unfolds—a tale marked by resilience, determination, and an unwavering pursuit of dreams.

Thenjelwa completed her matric in 1996 and started working at a local bottle store, where she earned a mere R350 per month. Undeterred, she aspired for higher education, only to face disappointment with an unregistered college. “Registering for a public management course at the college seemed like there was still light at the end of the tunnel. However, my hopes were crushed when I discovered that the college was not registered.”

Undaunted by setbacks, Thenjelwa enrolled in a computer course, eventually securing a job in retail. Reflecting on her journey, she expressed, “I could still feel that the money I received and the working environment were not aligned with my aspirations. I enrolled in a computer course and soon found a job in retail, seizing the opportunity with both hands. In 2006, I secured a job as a housekeeper in Bangkok, Asia. After tirelessly working for over a year, the hunger I had for studying compelled me to return home.”

Returning to South Africa, Thenjelwa found employment as a Grade R practitioner. In 2014, a bursary from the Department of Education paved the way for her enrolment in the Diploma in Grade R Teaching at SANTS Private Higher Education Institution. She reflected, “The feeling was surreal; I was now on my journey to becoming a qualified Grade R teacher in a legitimate institution. It all felt like a dream.”

Hope and determination led her to permanent employment in January 2018. Despite initial reservations, thinking age might be a barrier, Thenjelwa overcame the odds. “I always clung to the hope of securing permanent employment. Thankfully, in January 2018, God came through for me, and I was offered a permanent position as a Grade R teacher.”

In recognition of her dedication, Mgcawezulu Senior Primary School awarded Thenjelwa Mxaku a certificate in 2023. She was honoured for being flexible, possessing computer skills, and being recognized as the best ambassador at the school.

She recently completed her Bachelor of Education in Foundation Phase Teaching with SANTS, emphasizing her lifelong commitment to learning. “I am a life-long learner; the journey continues. If you are a teacher, you assume many roles. Let us always think on our feet and make a memorable impact on the lives of the kids we teach.”

SANTS commends Thenjelwa Mxaku for embodying the spirit of continuous learning and resilience. Her journey serves as an inspiration, showcasing that obstacles can be overcome through perseverance and a passion for education.

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