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SPARKING SUCCESS: Anele Ngxongo, wears one of the pieces she designed and manufactured during her studies.

Anele had always admired her mother’s jewellery and wondered how they were made. Earrings, rings and necklaces became fascinating objects to her.

Anele Ngxongo, a young mother from KwaZulu-Natal, has again proven that adverse circumstances can frequently lead to success. Anele completed her studies in Jewellery Manufacturing at the College of Cape Town for TVET in 2015. She did so with the support of a bursary from the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA).

Through dedication, passion and the financial assistance of the MQA, Anele’s achievements far outshine her humble background. Anele is the 24-year-old mother of five-year old Owami. She grew up in the large village of Nkandla in deep rural KwaZulu-Natal. She was raised by her grandmother, Sakhephi Gabela, while her mother was busy working piece jobs in Johannesburg. Growing up in a large family with only one breadwinner was not an easy life.

As a conscientious young girl, she was dedicated to her duties, a trait that is very much part of her character today. Every day she and her fellow schoolmates walked the 5km to school. After school they were responsible for collecting the wood in the forest that would be used for boiling water or cooking food for the following day. She managed to complete Grade 12 through hard work, determination and a vision that would carry her closer toward success. Studying Jewellery Manufacturing was her dream. She had always admired her mother’s jewellery and wondered how they were made.

Earrings, rings and necklaces became fascinating objects to Anele. Finally she unexpectedly obtained an MQA bursary to study Jewellery Manufacturing at the College of Cape Town for TVET. This not only gave her a chance to study at post-matric level, but to do so in something that she truly loves. She was excited when a community leader, Mr Mthokozisi Mchunu, called her in and told her about this opportunity. A dream became reality and it was not long before she found herself on a bus to Cape Town – a big city brimming with wonderful possibilities.

Leaving young Owami back in the village was tough and there were many times when she missed her life and family back home. But her passion for jewellery-making drove her to complete her studies. Determined to succeed and to bring her newly acquired knowledge back to her village was a driving force greater than could be imagined. With the strength and support of her family she dedicated her efforts to achieving her dream, namely that of entering the jewellery industry as a skilled artisan.

Studying Jewellery Manufacturing at the College of Cape Town not only gave Anele the skills and knowledge needed to manufacture jewellery in various metals including platinum, but it also enabled her to learn how to set stones in tube, claw, pavé or channel settings. These are techniques that will guide her on her pathway towards success. We asked Anele, “What’s next?”, as she reflected on what she has achieved. She is proud to have come this far, and proud of her strength and determination that drove her to where she is now. But with a humble expression, Anele responded: “I see myself having a big company at my village one day, a company which will open opportunities for other people. “I want to give back to my community and empower those that do not have the chances I had”.

We value how one single person with a passion and a dream can change the lives of many others. One person, who steps into an unknown world, leaving behind everything she knows to gain the necessary skills and knowledge, can also help those who are in need.
This is a victory of human spirit that can only blossom into something greater than can be imagined. Let it be a beacon of what can be achieved through hard work, endurance and a vision of the betterment of lives in this country.

It is a great success story that can inspire many others.

Ms C Albrechts is a Lecturer at the College of Cape Town for TVET