By Ntombi Ngobese
I am a 35-year-old woman originally from Limpopo, married in Mpumalanga Province. Currently I live in Emalahleni, working at beautiful city called Ermelo. I am a qualified Chemical Engineering Technologist currently employed as a manager in a power industry.
My further qualification include, B Tech (Chemical Engineering), Business management, Supply chain and Logistics, and Project management. I believe in creating a learning organization for everyone. I love my job and I have no regrets for my career choice. I also love swapping around boots and heels (shoes).
Being from the engineering background and being Mrs Mpumalanga finalist 2021, I’m sharing my story so that people understand that coming from a rural school does not determine your destiny, but determination, dedication, perseverance and motivation will take you to your destination.
I am married to the Ngobese family. We are blessed with one son who is seven years old. I am the fourth born daughter of Mr SP (late) and Mrs Grace Mahatlani. I grew up in a family full of love and I was always treated as the little princess of the family.
In our homestead there were two houses for my father’s elder brother and my father’s house. We lived together as one big family. Because of the
unity and the love that my family had, I never knew the difference between cousins and my own siblings. We were one big family calling all of them my brothers and my sisters.
At the time I was growing up, there were no crèches for kids to attend. At home, there was a big tree that provided a nice shelter and I would sit there with my grandmother and my uncle (father’s elder brother) whenever he was on leave and acted as their teacher. When my sisters came back from school and would do their home works, I would also do my home works even though I was not attending any school.
I always wanted to play a role of a leader in everything even though I was the youngest in the family.
I grew up seeing myself as a girl from the city even though I lived in dusty areas without a tar road and streetlights. I had big dreams about my life and I always wanted to be the best in everything I do. I started to participate in school debates from Grade 8, whereby I was competing with learners from Grade 12 and that contributed lot in building my confidence and self-esteem. I was also
participated in school drama where I was the secretary of the drama society at the school.
Some of the drama books we covered were Macbeth and Encounters where I was playing leading roles.
When we went for rehearsals I was always ahead with my scripts and I would go up to memorize other characters and help them whenever they are stuck.
I loved participating in beauty contests and I participated in several pageants at a young age. I won Miss MA Supermarket; Miss Giyani West; Second princess of Miss Giyani; First Princess of Miss IJ Supermarket and Miss Matsambu High school And I can safely say I never handed the crown back, since that was the last beauty contest they have conducted in the school. I wished to see myself as Miss South Africa, but due to other reasons, I could not participate thus far.
I was signed by Virtual era Modeling Agency, but the work between us never materialized. I was then signed by Steel Models, of which I have been called out to several castings and after some time it was silent. This year I entered Mrs Mpumalanga 2021 and I am now amongst the top 14 finalists, which is one of my greatest achievements. Even though Mrs Mpumalanga is not about the outer
beauty, but the inner beauty of a person. I am so excited about it and I will do my level best in working towards being the titleholder.
The reason I entered Mrs Mpumalanga is that I realized I could have a positive influence in the community especially the young ones. I have been observing the impact I have in my current surrounding, that most of the things I do, people turn to like and want me to help them, which I am doing with my whole heart.
If I can be a public figure doing good things to the community, many people can learn from me. I want people to know that I am there for them whenever there is a need. I want the young ones to look up to me as their role model. Another reason I feel I qualify for this title is that I am mature enough to handle difficult tasks and to respect others’ personal lives. I listen and give advice to people where necessary. Most people around my circles and even strangers feel comfortable to share their challenges with me. I always try my level best to come up with solutions where possible. I also have many friends older than me and they comfortable to share anything with me and I never judge nor criticize people.
This pageant is also creating a platform for me to raise my voice regarding Gender Based Violence (GBV). I have realized that most of the time we just post in the social media and from there no follow up about that or new strategies to fight GBV. I want to contribute more in finding strategies to minimize GBV. I also want people to know that GBV does not end on women being abused; it also covers men that are abused by their partners. People should learn not to laugh, or judge people who report cases related to GBV. I have been personally involved in encouraging people in abusive relations to open up. I also ensure that in our social gathering we touch topics that make people feel better and looking at their challenges at a different angle. I have few different groups with different
people where we discuss GBV issues and how to build each other. We normally conduct social gatherings and invite guest speakers to participate in our gatherings. In relation to cases on Gender Base Violence, we try our best to ensure that justice is served.
If I were to win the Mrs Mpumalanga title I would like people to remember me for how many lives I have changed. Being part of this competition will help me to remove the barriers and limitation I have in reaching the people. It is easy to access more people when you are well known.
I want to continue to educate more women on how to love and care for one another not just a circle of my friends only.
I will continue with my passion on coaching and mentoring and make it more professional. When I give back to the community, it will not only be on my personal space, or only through the company I work for, it will be also be on behalf of the Mrs Mpumlanga brand.
When I was a child, I also liked sewing clothes for my dolls. My parents even thought I was going to be a fashion designer. I do love fashion and I am currently working on establishing my clothing brand. The brand is already known as Catwoman. So far I have designed clothes for myself and my sisters, but I also wish to extend this to the community at large.
My role Model
I always looked up to my parents as my role models. My mom never had a qualification from school, but she had a great vision about her children. She valued education as if she was somebody who had a doctorate. She taught us how to love and care for others, how to manage our finances and to focus on education. When it comes to giving us a better education, our parents would spend their last cent without complaining to ensure that all the school resources are covered. Our dad was all in one, there was nothing that was done by hands that he would fail to do, and he had all the certificates from carpentry to plumbing. He would always say let your hands work for you, which helped me and my sisters to be able to do all types of jobs including designing our own clothes.
Mom on the hand was a business woman, who would wake up very early in the morning to bake and cook the food that she would sell at the school during breaks. She taught us how to be strong and focusing on our goals and be determined to achieve, laziness’ was not part of the lessons I learnt from my role models. I am where I am today because of my parents’ and sisters’ advices. I always had five things I wanted to achieve in life, I pasted them on the wall in my room. Every morning before I left for school I would read through and before I slept I would read again. I have managed to achieve all the five things that were included on the list. Listing up my goals was also my family’s (parents and siblings) advice.
My parents taught us that nothing is free in life, one must always make an effort to achieve great things.
I used that to my advantage and most of the people used to think I was very intelligent, but I believe I am just a hard worker.
Where I see myself in five years’ time
I see myself as a brand title holder for Mrs South Africa. I see myself owning a Non-Profit organization that will look at two things: Rehabilitation for substance abuse people and bursary funding for less privileged students. I have learned that there are intelligent learners coming from schools whereby they do not have enough resources to fully educate the learners in a manner that will help them to pass with higher scores, but when we look at the passion and dedication of the
learners you can surely see that education can bring the best out of them.
I also realized that there is a shortage of substance abuse rehabilitation centers and there is a growing number of people who are affected. I would like to have a rehabilitation unit to allow people to restore their lives. If we want a better future for our people we need not to give up on them because they are slaves of substances, we need to try our level best to help them recover. Old people end up
becoming victims of abuse by the grandchildren who abuse substances, because we are not putting enough efforts to fight against substance abuse.
Giving back to the community
Working at Eskom has given me exposure to participate in giving back to the community. I am also participating in Eskom Young scientists Expo as a judge every year. This is the platform where we allow our kids (school learners) to unleash their creativity and inventing something new. It is pleasing me to be part of the project since learners are even offered bursaries because of their creativity.
The mission trips I recently took with New Life Church to Swaziland and Lesotho made me to fall in love in giving back to the community. I went there with the intention of helping people but when I was engaging with those people I realized that I am also learning a lot from them. I have learnt to give people according to their needs. One day I went to donate groceries in one of the Orphanages
around Witbank. The same day I went there, was the same day they were collecting groceries from one of the supermarkets. I thought that, maybe food is not really what they needed for that day, not that they were not appreciative but I have to think of other help that I can provide. I have also learnt that giving back to the community is not only about tangible things, you can give back with your time and knowledge.
Giving back to the Old people
The rules of Covid-19 say old people should stay indoors, but there is that day where they have to go out, to collect their pension money. There is time where we visit them and this is what made me to realize that we take things for granted. Old people also need the personal protective equipment’s(PPEs) we use to protect ourselves for Covid-19. We assumed that they would not use sanitizers,
only to find that they needed education to understand the importance of sanitizers, how to use them and why we should wear proper masks. Most old people from villages do not have sanitisers and some do not have proper masks to protect themselves. As Mrs Mpumalanga finalists 2021 I took an initiative to visit old people and teach them about Covid-19. We also handed them masks
with breathers and sanitizers. They were excited and some of them took off their masks to wear the new ones that were handed to them. We only had 50 masks and 100 sanitisers. Some did not receive and the question was would you come again next month to give to those who did not get? It is a million dollar question.
When I talk about giving according to the needs, some learners do not only need school fees, uniform and food, but they need food of life (motivation). I used to visit schools where I come from as a former learner to give support and motivate the learners. But now as one of the Mrs. Mpumalanga finalists I am extending it to most of the schools around Mpumalanga. I have several group chats with learners from different schools. The schools I visited last week the students are still feeling motivated and willing to do something different with their lives.
I emphasized the importance of education and the fact that it opens up doors of success. I always remind them of their responsibilities as learners so that they take ownership of their career without having to blame other people for the poor performance. I believe that nothing is impossible; you can do anything, as long as you put your mind into it. They used to say you could not do modeling when you are in engineering, you can’t look good because engineers are always busy to take care of their beauty. If you love what you do, you will manage your time well and be proud of everything you do.
I am passionate about mentorship and coaching, because for me to be where I am today is because of some people who gave their time and efforts to give a direction to my career and life in general. I am willing to do that to many people free of charge.
● Church missions to assist our neighboring countries (Swaziland and Lesotho with New Life church and One heart)
● Church Hospitality and welcoming guests
● Judge at Eskom Young Scientist Expo
● Mentoring and a coaching (school learners)
● Career guidance and Motivation (School learners and friends)
● Woman against gender based violence
I have vowed to give ear and support people without judging them. I want to make a difference in other people’s lives using any opportunity I get. I like to surround myself with people whom I can learn something from and they gain something from me. I often have women PEP talk and we discuss different topics on how to be your sister’s keeper and uplifting each other as women. We had one on the on 12 th of September, but only few women were involved because we were respecting the rules of Covid-19. I am also part of ‘’Inkhozo yabo Makoti “, this is a platform where we teach each other about marriage and also share our life experiences. Every member get an opportunity to host this event, and we also have old people who attend to help in answering questions related to marriage. This initiative was started by Women from Mpumalanga (which I am part of), but we also have people from Gauteng attending the event.
I am available on Facebook page as Ntombi Ngobese Mrs Mpumalanga Finalist. If you are interested in sponsoring me during this event you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To vote you can go to Facebook page called Mrs Mpumalanga, start by liking the page and Check the posts with social media message and tap on the picture and like next to my photo. Voting ends on November 27, 2021.