Durban — After decades of serving one of Durban’s top schools, Thulisile Ntombela decided to put her pen down early last year.
Ahead of the Matric 2023 results being released, she shared how she’s contributed to the school’s success and her bond with the matric class of 2023.
She said, “I had a very strong bond with the matric class of 2023 because I spent a lot of time with them. I stayed with them during their morning and afternoon classes from 6am – 6pm daily.
“I trusted and believed in them. I know that they will match my expectations as they understand the role at hand. I am expecting an outstanding performance from them and trust that the results will continue to place the school on the map. Our secret was dedication, hard work, team spirit and going the extra mile among all the educators.”
Ntombela retired at the end of April 2023. She said although she was excited about the new chapter of her life, she instantly regretted her decision because the school was like her second home.
“I started teaching at Menzi High School at an early age and grew within the school and with the school. I felt I was betraying the late principal, Mr Mshololo, who had trusted me with the work over the years.”
During her undergraduate degree, Ntombela said she began studying at the Indumiso Teacher Training College and proceeded to the University of Zululand in the early ’80s. She was then appointed as a teacher at Menzi High School in 1985 and tasked with teaching Zulu and life sciences.
She furthered her education through the University of the Witwatersrand and obtained her Bachelor of Arts Honours from there in the early 1990s. She then continued further and obtained a Bachelor of Education majoring in educational management which, she said, further enhanced her leadership and management skills.
“In 1996, I was promoted as the departmental head responsible for languages and served in this position until 2006 when I was again promoted as the second deputy principal of the school tasked with ensuring seamless administration and academic support for pupils.
“During this time, I was also responsible for ensuring teacher development and pupil support,” she said. She added that following the death of the school’s then-principal, she assumed the role of principal in 2015.
Ntombela said some of the highlights of her career date back to the ’80s and ’90s.
“When one joined the teaching profession during a very difficult period (apartheid and post-apartheid), we were required as the staff and management to do what we could to instil discipline in our learners and encourage them to thrive for better results – which we were able to do.
“I was also fortunate enough to be blessed with motivated pupils who sought to achieve great results. This placed our school and myself as a teacher as one of the top achievers and producers of great results. This also earned me various opportunities for development, which saw me travel as far as the UK on invitation by the minister to also represent our country.
“I have been recognised by institutions of higher learning, such as the University of the Free State and most recently (in 2023) by Mangosuthu University of Technology, with two awards for being one of the people in uMlazi who has contributed meaningfully to education,” she said.
Another highlight for Ntombela was that Menzi High School was named the National Champion for Quintile 4 schools in 2018.
Menzi High School has had a 100% matric pass rate for the last 11 years and they hope to extend that this year.
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