By Sandi Sher on 22 Jan 2018
My name is Monwabisi Mtshamba and I am a TSiBA graduate 2018. My TSiBA journey began in 2014 and has been a real life changing experience. I came into the instititution at a critical point in my life, I matriculated in 2011 and in 2012 I dropped out in the second semester of a multimedia diploma at another university because I was simply demotivated. I struggled through my first year because there just wasn’t enough support and the large number in the lecture halls weren’t making things easier.
After dropping out, my parents then decided that I should go and look for a job; I started working as a sales assistant at a large retailer. During this experience I met Mr David Leendertz who at the time was a project manager for the City of Cape Town. He and I connected and he would visit the store every evening, months went on and my friendship David turned into a mentorship relationship. He then convinced me to get a tertiary education and TSiBA was one of the few places that he volunteered at. When he told me about ‘TSiBA Education’, I was very hesitant because I had never heard of the institution before. I decided to take a chance and till today that is the best decision I have ever taken.
What is so special about TSiBA? Now there are many things that one could point out i.e the impressive employment rate (currently 93%) but for me personally, it is the people. Coming from a slightly larger (in capacity or volume*) university, I was always only just a number; nobody knew who I was nor my story. The first thing I encountered at TSiBA was the values and the language of the institution. There was a buzz word at the institution “igniting opportunity”, that word stuck with me and as much as people argue that when education is relatively “free” then people will not value it. To me, this was not a “free” tertiary education but an opportunity. The people at TSiBA cared, at it showed even in the organization set-up; as ‘small’ as the university is but it had/has ‘student support’, ‘mentorship’, ‘leadership and self development’, etc. All of these are in my opinion important cogs in the development of one beyond the lecture room.
As we go through the struggle of #FeesMustFall, it is amazing to think that TSiBA Education has been a remedy-model since 2004, which makes me even more proud to be a TSiBALING. TSiBA might be the best kept secret but it is very much real, with real people (graduates, alumni and supporters) and opportunities.
The ethos of ‘Pay-it-Forward’, which donors (of all kinds), staff and students uphold dearly, is in my opinion what makes TSiBA Education different. The institution equipped me to see that this degree qualification and my success for much more than just myself. As I am about to officially graduate in October 2018 I understand that this degree is a key to open doors for myself, my family and my community.
My time at TSiBA has been one of great growth and character sharpening. The Leadership and Self Development course and the philosophy of ‘Pay-it-Forward’ which I speak about above have all added layers of depth to me as a person. I stand today as a graduate, a tutor, a mentor and a proud and ambitious young African leader! That is my reason why even as TSiBA ‘alumni’ I continue to choose TSiBA Education everyday!!