Student Success: Thulani Dube Employed as Data Capturer

Thulani Dube arrived as a student at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre (HDLC) as it opened in August 2012.

Until that point, he had worked as a petrol pump attendant.

On Friday, after two years of studying at HDLC, Thulani packed his bags and started the four-hour taxi journey to the University of Pretoria. Thulani has just been employed by the Mpumalanga Department of Health as a Data Capturer.

After 21 days of training in Pretoria, Thulani will return to the greater Hazyview area, where he will be deployed to one of the surrounding clinics and his skills will be used as part of government’s vision to digitise it’s systems and processes.

“My Mum didn’t believe me when I told her about my new job,” says Thulani. “She wanted me to go to work, she wasn’t sure about this schooling business. It was only after my first graduation, when I got my International Computer Driving License (ICDL) that she started to believe that education was worthwhile. Everyday, she’s looking more and more shocked but very happy.”

Thulani went on to study and pass his ICDL Advanced certificates, and this year – together with his friend Paris Moeng – he became one of our first students to qualify with his CompTIA A+ certificate.

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Thulani has his ICDL, his ICDL Advanced, his English for Access, and his CompTIA A+. He has a passion for computers and a strong belief in education.

“In my family I was trying to set an example,” explains Thulani. “Out of everyone, there was no-one who went to college. I was the first. If I can do it, then the little ones who are coming behind me can do so much better. I will be relentless in my encouragement and my belief in education.”

When I asked Thulani what he’s planning on doing with his first paycheck, his answer came quick: “I want to buy my Mum an electric washing machine. She’s been threatening to stop doing my laundry, so maybe that will help.” Clever man!

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Thulani stands tall in the Hazyview campus barn.

According to Thulani, when people in his community first heard about the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre, they did not believe that it was legitimate. “Why would a world-class institution set itself up in a village in Mpumalanga?” they asked, “it must be a scam.

“I ignored the protests of friends and family and I enrolled,” explains Thulani. “That investment in my education is paying off – I am about to receive my first proper paycheck.”

Typical of an analytical “IT” personality type, Thulani is cautious though. “I don’t want a situation to change me. I want to remain who I am. I want to remain the person you know. Even if I can receive R1 million, I will be myself.

If there is a fire in you, if there’s a curiosity in you, other people can read it. I don’t have to change, I just have to be me.”

For a man in his early 20’s, Thulani’s wisdom takes you off guard. Perhaps most telling is his belief that education held the key to his future, despite the protests of his friends and family, who had before now, seen few merits in wasting time in books and study.

“One thing I have realised is that once you want something or love something, you will commit yourself to it. The love for computers made me commit myself to my studies.

If there’s no love there won’t be any commitment.”

In true Thulani-style, our young graduate will be continuing his studies next year. Unfazed by full-time work, Thulani plans to continue with his CompTIA Network+.

Congratulations Thulani. We know the obstacles that you have had to overcome. We know the fight that you took on. We know how you struggled with English, and looked up word upon word in the dictionary. We saw how you nearly quit when you couldn’t even afford transport money.

But time and time again, we saw your courage and commitment. You are an example to us all.

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