Abna Machavana

Abna Machavana is a “tech guy”. Mention the words “technical problem” and his pupils dilate, his brain changes gear and you can almost hear the delight as he opens up the computer, picks up a tool and starts the “surgery”.

And yet the first time this 25 year-old used a computer was just over five years ago. There were no computer classes at high school. No smart phones or laptops at home. In fact, both of Abna’s parents are from rural Justicia and neither of them are computer literate. That’s probably why they encouraged Abna to attend a business college shortly after he matriculated.

The office computing qualification was enough to get Abna a job at Londolozi Private Game Reserve, where he took up a position as a beverage stock controller.

At the same time, Good Work Foundation and Mo Groch were setting up the Londolozi Digital Learning Centre so that Londolozi personnel and extended family had the opportunity to improve their digital literacy.

Abna made good use of the centre. He completed his International Computer Driving License (ICDL Core) and then – owing to his fascination with computers – he started teaching ICDL during his lunchtime breaks.

“I never saw myself as a teacher” laughs Abna, “but I could feel (and still can) that the classroom was the beginning of a long road that will one day see me become a systems engineer. If you can teach a subject effectively to someone else, then you know you know it. There’s no better way to become an expert.”

In July 2012 Abna joined Good Work Foundation as a full-time ICDL coordinator. He teaches modules five and six – databases and powerpoint – and he is also one of our two on-site “tech guys”.

Abna has his ICDL Core qualification, as well as a certificate in Information Technology Essentials (ITE) via Cisco. Currently he is studying for an A+ qualification. A+ is a general computer qualification for entry-level service technicians or anyone who wants to learn how to install, configure, upgrade, troubleshoot and repair computers.

“My hero is Sibusiso Vilane” says Abna. “He recently spoke here at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre. He is the first black African to have summited Mount Everest. He has also summited Kilimanjaro and numerous other mountains around the world. Right now, the A+ qualification is my Drakensberg, and the N+ qualification is my Kilimanjaro. What’s my Everest? Probably the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification, but that’s a way off yet.”

We asked Abna what he likes doing outside of teaching and computer “surgery”. His answer:

“People might not know this but I am a runner. I have completed the Kruger Skukuza 21km half-marathon three times. But most of the time I am reading about networking. I want to get better and better at being that guy that solves the problem. It’s one step at a time and I must be patient, but I’m ready!”