Umlazi’s Wendy Asiphe Ndadane is poised to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor after achieving 7 distinctions, including an outstanding 98% in mathematics and 96% in physical science during her matric year.
As an alumna and head girl of Zwelibanzi High School, Wendy is set to pursue an MBChB at the University of Cape Town with aspirations of becoming a heart surgeon.
“My ultimate goal is to reside in a country with ample job opportunities for the youth, promoting self-reliance and independence,” says Wendy.
Wendy, who attended supplementary classes every Saturday provided by the Engen Maths and Science School (EMSS) at Umlazi Commercial, highly recommends the programme.
“The EMSS teachers offer additional time and create a supportive environment where students can freely ask questions without fear of judgment.
“The programme is a home, a family, where everyone is invested in helping students be their best and shine in the world.”
Reflecting on her experience, Wendy notes that the EMSS teachers provided numerous exercises and practice papers, contributing significantly to her exam preparation.
“The diverse learning environment allowed me to explore different problem-solving approaches, enhancing my skills,” she adds.
Offering advice to this year’s matric students, Wendy urges them to persevere and not give up.
“Things may not always go as planned, so it is import to trust God’s timing and avoid comparisons with others.”
Recalling her own challenges, Wendy admits that the most difficult part was finding time to sleep, with being Head Girl, there were high expectations to excel.
Wendy attributes her academic success to her supportive family, emphasizing the quiet study time they provided during her matric year.
She shares her motivational mantra, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up,” highlighting the importance of resilience and a positive mindset in overcoming failures.
The Engen Maths and Science School program, running for over 35 years, takes pride in nurturing talented young South Africans like Wendy. The program provides free supplementary education to over 1,500 learners annually at 10 centers across South Africa.
These centres are in Cape Town (classes are held at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Manzombotho High), the Eastern Cape (in East London, Cala, and Gqeberha), Johannesburg (Zakarriya Park), and KwaZulu-Natal (at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Hillview High School, and Umlazi Commercial High School).
Engen’s CSI Manager, Olwethu Mdabula, emphasises the programme’s focus on gateway subjects —mathematics, science and English — to help address the country’s skills shortage and contribute to economic growth.
Mdabula explains that EMSS aims to unlock the potential of talented young learners, providing them with the resources and guidance needed to achieve academic excellence and pursue tertiary education.
Recent Department of Basic Education data indicates improvements in pass rates for mathematics and physical science. However, the limited number of learners achieving the essential 60% minimum mark in maths and science for university entrance to engineering, commerce and science degrees underscores the vital role played by EMSS in supporting young talent, especially in STEM subjects.
“EMSS is dedicated to transforming the lives of young learners, who often face severe socio-economic challenges, by bridging educational gaps, and empowering them to reach their full potential,” comments Mdabula.
As a company, Engen champions the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 4 – Quality Education, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
“Engen is keenly aware that access to quality education and gender equality is everybody’s business, and that it owes it to its employees, customers, and broader society to make every effort to drive positive change,” adds Mdabula.
“It is Engen’s ultimate reward to help set talented people up to pursue stimulating careers that won’t only benefit them personally, but also their families and the broader economy of South Africa.”
Engen is incredibly proud of all EMSS learners who completed matric in 2023.
Engen is hosting a series of awards ceremonies in February at EMSS centres across South Africa where the programme’s Grade 10-12 learners will be honoured, and the top achievers named.
Wendy’s story is a testament to the impact of EMSS in shaping young minds and contributing to South Africa’s growth.
Engen’s dedication to creating a diverse and vibrant workforce aligns with its goal of setting talented individuals on paths that benefit not only them but also their families and the broader economy.