Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Going through education with no financial support from family - Victorine Mbong Shu talks

I will start by stating that you have to be your rescue. No one else is your rescue.
I came from a background where girls left intermediate school, got pregnant and starting making children.
I told my father that I would like to go to secondary school and he was more than willing to send me to school. Unfortunately for me, my parents’ marriage broke when I was 15.
My siblings went with my mother to her village but I stayed with my dad to pursue my education.
When life is against you, mother goes right for you.
At grade 10, I was dismissed from school for absences. I have my medical record to help the school readmit me, but it was rejected but the administration.
On the day schools began, I stood in front of the mirror, looked at myself and said “God I reject the situation that I coming my way. I reject the boys who love me because they are distractors, I reject illiteracy in my family, I reject poverty for my children, I reject frustration by my siblings, I reject everything that is not prosperous from my way”
In front of that mirror, I committed myself to education. I realised that I had just fallen madly in love with myself and I decided to make this life changing decision.
You can do the same.

Do you want to hear more of my story?

The first day of school, I wore my school uniforms and went back to school. I had equal exposure to every child for 2 weeks before the class master found out that my name was not in the register.
For another 14 days of school, I was chased out of class at least two times a week. Finally, I was not allowed into the school premises at all.
I thought that is I stayed home, I had a 99.99999 percent of falling pregnant without marriage. Then I decided to find a new school during the second term. This was a private high school. When I went to that school, the grade 10 head girl had taken ill and was away for the year. My proficiency exposed me to be nominated the head girl.
The disciplinary master for the secondary school section was very frustrated to find out that this well behaved and educationally focused head girl was not even known by the office. In fact I never went for registration because I could not afford it.

The police were called in. I was arrested and placed behind bars for hours before our kindhearted neighbor who was a policeman demanded that I be released and he be locked up in my place.
Of course I was sent home that night with strong notice.
In the meantime, my class master from my previous school tried everything he could to convince my middle class father to send me to school. When he realized that all had failed, he contacted my brother who worked as a security guard.
My brother travelled overnight for 14hours to come fetch me. He took me along without know what to do with me.
My brother worked and lived in his office because he could not afford rental in the big city. I squashed with him and we enjoyed sleeping on a matrasses on the floor. I never complained.
I read my books on the corridors of his work when he consulted and I kept preparing for my General Certificate of education even though I was not yet registered.
On the second day after I went to stay with my brother, he travelled another hours to go register me for this certificate. He also made arrangements with a woman who had be kind to him in the past, to allow me stay with her. My brother paid for afternoon classes for that I could prepare for my end of school exams. These classes are generally attended by those who have attempted this exams a few times and those who went to mainstream schools during the day.
I had no time to study during the day because I had to help my kind host in the house and in the farms. I did not complain. I studies and I worked hard.
My biggest accomplishment came because i gave myself a chance to do everything, but to study hard. i made a decision from within me.  THIS DECISION came because I reminded myself that I am not failing because of academic incapacity, I am failing because I was once sick. I remembered my Maths teacher telling me that I would never amount to anything, but also my English and English literature teacher telling me that I could be a good communicator. I said to myself, “Dwell on your strength. See the good in you and make the good in you” that I did.
That was the beginning of my life. At 16, I realised that I am destined for better things.
I took up to education. I told myself that I would change my life forever and that nothing will stop me. But my brother gave me the fuel I needed. He told me after I passed my ordinary levels with only 4 out of the 7 papers I sat for with good grades he said to me “the fact that you can have these results without attending regular school, means I will stop studying until the day you have your degree”.
This statement changed my life forever even though my brother did not know that.
He kept to his words though. My brother got me admission in one of the best government high schools in the province. I lacked a lot of things as you can imagine but school gave me the joy I needed to feel accomplished. Then two years later, I matriculated.

Do you still want to hear more?

I matriculated in 1994 when most of you here were not yet born. That same year, my brother had a visa to travel for South Africa. I lived in a rented room, so he paid my school fees for my first year at university and me rental for one year. My brother left me with under a thousand Rands and travelled with promise to send me more money within the next few months.
Life did not turn out easy for him and months turned into a year. In my second year, I worked for my landlord so that he and his wife could keep me in my room. I went to the farm, I fetched water, I cleaned their house and I helped in the kitchen. For almost a year, these people let me stayed in their house without paying for rental. I did same to everyone who could allow me. I approached my lecturers (Mrs Doh and Dr. Ngwa for feeding help).
But the university was not that kind. I was almost deregistered when I decided to approach my HOD via my favourite lecturer. I explained my situation to him and asked that he department gives me a loan. I promised to pay back that loan as soon as my brother sent money. I promised to in the meantime sell a certain number of a campus magazine that our department produced. God touched these two men and my fees were paid in full for the academic year 1997 by my department. Shortly after the first semester of that year, my brother sent money. I paid my rents owed and took the rest of the money to my HOD for my school fees. My HOD rejected the money and told me that their gesture was a gift.
That sum went a long way to my siblings and I.
Every time I failed, I gave myself another chance and God used people to do that. No one would have been able to help me if I did not give myself a chance. No one told me I could do this. No one told me that I had potentials. Nobody told me that they trusted me. No one told me that I could do it. I made people saw qualities in my no matter how broken I always was.
I never kept quiet. I approached strangers and I asked them for help. I was never going to allow myself to fail.
I went through a tough university but I came out qualified. When I got my first job, things were not easy either. My boss tried to sleep with me and threatened to fire me each time I turned him down.

Do you want to know how I got out of this?
Well I did not really get out of it. I suspended his action until my wonderful brother came into my rescue the Spiderman style.

No that is my past. This is my story in South Africa.

I got here in 2002 and a few weeks later, I landed a job at my brother’s firm. Life was not so easy for me because I had become very unappreciative. I did not appreciate my brother and I did not find time to sit down and say thank you for the great job.
I was not so friendly to his wife and I started undermining her. I am not sure why, but I must tell you that my brother showed me much love and was openly always proud of my tenacity.
I worked hard at work and started receiving certificates recognizing me as the best employees in certain categories. I loved my job more and more and I gave it my all. As I committed, so did I grow experientially.
Shortly after I started working, I took interest in studies and started researching. On 2003, I registered for an MBA with the University of KwaZuluNatal because they were the only renounced University then that offered long distance MBA options. I studied until 2004 ended (with one course accounting and a thesis left to complete) when it emerged that the university was not accredited to offer MBAs. Our lessons were suspended. At the beginning of 2005, we got letters advising us that the problem has been fixed and we could come back to school. However, there was a condition. The course was only now offered as full time. Unfortunately for me, I was not in a serious relationship that had just gotten complicated with a pregnancy. I refused to go back to natal and focused on my job, my partner and my unborn son.
I worked for my brother until in February 2007
When he closed down his business.

THE COINCIDENCE:

Meanwhile Victorine excelled in this position until early 2007 when the tides changed. Haven gone on maternity leave for her second baby, she learnt in the month of February that the company was retrenching and preparing for a close down in March. Her brother, who loved her so much and feared to hurt her, had concealed this from her even though he had in the past months urged her to try and get a job elsewhere. In many indirect ways, her brother had made it clear that the company might not continue to run in the near future. On her part, Victorine did not want to desert her brother who has done so much to see that she is educated and fit for work. As faith had it, in March 2007, Excellante closed down. Maybe he was serious about this but Mr. Kum said to Victorine “you have been such a wonderful producer in the past. Just pick out some furniture here, and start-up your own business. I know you can do it. You are a people’s person and peoples’ people always go far”. Did he really need to persuade her that much? As she pondered on this point, also took his suggestion very lightly, as she continue to give it deeper thoughts as days go by without food on the table.

God “Blessed” Victorine with a job offer in another company; Unicapital Consult starting May 3rd that same year. This job lasted only until May 12 when she was fired via an SMS for non-performance.

As a young mother of two with a full-time Ph.D. student for a husband, Victorine again turned to her brother for shelter. He handed over the furniture to her and two very good employees whose loyalty had kept them by him for the past weeks.

Within the first weekend of May, Victorine, Emmanuel and Harry sat to brain storm on a company name. The name Profounder International was rejected by CIPRO in favour of Profounder Intelligence Management Services and voila on May 10th 2007, there was a new baby in the training industry.

Profounder had a Conference inherited from Excellante which was marketed from her two bedrooms flat with limited resources. The start-up furniture and staff was available. A total staff of 7 in numbers who were basically the two employees, Victorine, her husband Emmanuel, their family friend Harry and her sister Judith. God has seen the company through, and today it boosts over 24 full time workers. A management team of 6 compliments this staff with one of them a Ph.D. holder.

The need to feed the four children she has and at the same time secretly fulfill her dreams, the passion, trust, support and commitment from Victorine’s husband, the dedication of Profounder’s clients, the loyalty of staff members and especially her managers, and most of all the invisible hand of God has made Profounder Intelligence a company that boosts a stable work environment that only gets better.


PROFOUNDER INTELLIGENCE’S SCOPE OF SERVICES:

Profounder Intelligence’s provides corporate and management training solutions to private and public sectors within South Africa and its’ footprint can be seen throughout the African continent. The company’s services include; Training through conferences, workshops and in-house trainings, Business Support Services through coaching, mentoring, and Soft Services, venue sourcing, transportation, cleaning services, etc.

Other services include;

• Catering and events management

• Stationery, Consumables & Office Supplies

• Cleaning for commercial and residential accommodation

• Conference Facilities

• Transportation and Distribution Services

• First Aid and OHS Act Management & Consultancy


GRATITUDE

To the Lord Almighty for using Mr. Kum to inspire Victorine and for paying her bills when we had no cent.

To Kum Godlove Bezeng (MBA) for his trust and inspiration.

To Emmanuel Anyefru (PhD) for his dedication and selfless efforts.

To Mr. Haddison Fonane for, financial, morale, and physical support.

To all the two unnamed staff members and Judith that hatched this egg called Profounder

To all Profounder’s clients for being there when they were, are and will be needed the most .
To Profounder Intelligence (the staff) for turning a nightmare into life worth living.

To all those who have been very instrumental but are not named here; please note that your effort has not been unnoticed or forgotten.

And finally for those who did not believe in Victorine because their doubts helped her build the community she survives in today.

******************************************************************** Also to you for reading.

Written for Matric Learners at the April 2015 AngloGold Career Expo in the Merafong Sports Complex. 

Victorine Mbong Shu.

Author and Conversationist on Involved Parenting

 Availability of book

Copies can be bought from the following avenues;
 Victorine on +27 82 548 6385
My works on www.mbongshu.co.za 
Publisher on +27 11 346 8300/www.profounder.co.za 
Xarra Books: www.Xarrabooks.co.za
     Online in South Africa: www.sabooksearch.co.za 
     Hard Copies: +27 11 440 7501- Johannesburg or www.profoundcentre.co.za 

Amazon books on www.amazon.com (search by book title) or eBook on www.kindle.com  

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