Growing Biologists, Engineers, Doctors and Technologists

PROTEC Pietermaritzburg Academy is a non-profit company, founded in 1989, that strives to provide quality Maths, Science and English enrichment education to talented students in Grades 8 – 12 from the greater Pietermaritzburg and KZN Midlands region. Recently, Thobani Gambu one of Protec’s successful 3000 post-students, visited to catch up with old friends. Thobani matriculated in 2007 after attending Protec’s Saturday and Vacation School classes. Fascinated equally by Physics and Chemistry, Thobani succumbed to the charms of Chemical Engineering, and accepted a place at UCT.

Earlier this year, Thobani graduated with his BSc Chemical Engineering and has been invited to return to read for his MSc – sponsored by SA Breweries. Thobani is an exceptional young man born in the Bulwer district of KZN. His mother insisted that her children initially live with their grandmother in Edendale in order to gain a better education. After their grandmother died, Thobani and his brother Mathemahle, lived on their own in the France informal settlement (one of the poorest areas of the greater Edendale valley) and despite the challenges hardly missed a day of PROTEC programmes. Thobani first started to shine when he pioneered the design and construction of a model crane for the 2006 SAIMechE Technology Olympiad. The crane needed to be capable of loading and lifting wooden blocks through 90° in the shortest time interval. Thobani and his team made it through to the National Finals and competed at Treverton College, eventually being placed 7th overall in SA. His team won the prize for the best teamwork.

The rest is history. His time at PROTEC Pmb exposed him to excellent quality teaching in Maths and Physical Science, and also English writing and speaking skills, as well as individual Career Guidance when it counted most. Along the way, he has worked for Richard’s Bay Minerals and SA Breweries during his vacations on short projects. Studying in the Western Cape has also introduced a different cultural aspect into his life and Thobani is now a confident and highly capable graduate engineer with the whole world opening doors to him. We really enjoy catching up with our post-students, and follow their progress with great interest and pride. We wish Thobani well.

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Thobani Gambu. Pic: Nikki Brighton