How I Made It – Mnoneli Mangaliso

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First Young Professional – How I Made It

Mnoneli Mangaliso

  1. Where and When was Mnoneli Mangaliso born?
    • I was born in Umtata, Eastern Cape on the 14th August 1986
  2. What were your childhood dreams a young boy?
    • My biggest dream growing up was to be a pilot, a dream which I rearranged after 2001 events, twin towers and a lot of plane crashes the last been in 2003 when a plane crashed just before taking off. I then decided to go to plane technicality before I become a pilot, so I decided to follow Aeronautical Engineering, but unfortunately was not accepted.
    • I ended up studying for Quantity Surveying, which I really enjoyed after getting to really understand it as I really love numbers.
  3. What drove you and kept you focused,motivated during your High School years?
    • Looking at the situation at home and circumstances I had to bear while growing up, i was motivated to be a better person and be the one that will make life at home better than what it was when we were growing up.
    • In all my school years, my goal was to be the best I could be and since I could not compete with anyone in my school, I had to compete in my mind with all those in better schools than mine and was aiming to be among the top achievers in the province, which no doubt I achieved even though I fell short of my target of being number 1 or top 10
  4. What was your favourite and least enjoyable High school subject?
    • I loved all my subjects the same way and worked hard in all of them to achieved best results, but maths was just a natural thing to me and I did not spend much time on it as I excelled in it so had to give more attention to those subjects I struggled with like Physical Science.
    • My believe was and always have been that you must love it for it to love you back, once you start to hate any subject, your mentality towards it and your work rate decreases and your chances of failure increases, the same way as having an attitude towards a particular teacher, you will hate their subject and all you’ll get is fail. Its always best to balance your subjects as that boosts your overall average which is what counts the most.
  5. Any teacher or community leader that inspired you to believe in yourself?
    • My school, teachers and principal, believed in us such that in our grade 12 year, they set up a R2000.00 award for top achiever, R500 to be released in June to help with with applications and the remainder in January to help with transport and registrations when going to tertiary institutions.
    • I had really supportive teachers, such that I was assisted by my teachers at matric when I could not afford going to winter school, they organised payed for me and accommodated me in town to be closer to the school, after they had asked me where I’d go for winter school and having told them I’d not afford to go and was planning to find work so i can buy myself clothes for farewell. Not only did they pay for my winter school, but they also combined hands to buy me clothes I’d wear at the farewell ceremony and clothes to change. Big thanks to my teachers, Mrs Dyantyi, Mrs Ngozi, Mam Nqadolo, Mam Dlamini, Mam Magwaca and Mam Njiva.
  6. At what age did you decide to choose to follow your career and what made you make that decision?
    • As a young boy had a dream of becoming a doctor when I grew up, which was one of those careers common among black communities and well respected. But when I was around 12 I developed love for planes and flying. I only got to know there was something called Quantity Surveying when I had application forms for tertiary institutions as we never had any career exhibitions or workshops. I only got to understand my career and what its all about when I was already doing it in tertiary, and I grew love for it more.
  7. How did you finance your tertiary studies and what challenges you faced as a young student far from home?
    • My teachers always told me to work really hard in matric and not worry of the year after that as it would handle itself, but what I say to youngsters today is that you hold in your hands the power to build or to destroy your future, its what you do in your entire school career and mostly in grade 12 that will decide your faith the year after.
    • All I’m saying is that through my hard work I earned myself a bursary and a Vice-chancellors scholarship at the University of the Witwatersrand.
    • I faced financial challenges while there regarding cosmetics, especially from second year as the vice chancellors scholarship which had a stipend to cover all my small expenses only covered first year of study and from second year on-wards I studied on a bursary which did not give and cash to its students except pay for your tuition, residence, food from school dining halls and books through their approved book store. But I did not struggle much as God blessed me with caring people, Ms A. Konyana, who i met when I went to Walter Sisulu University looking for a place in the faculty of medicine. She become like the mother I never had, she was the one that contacted external sources when I could not find a bursary for Quantity Surveying as the one I had only wanted to pay for an engineering field profession only, a mechanical engineering diploma in UJ, which I chose not to pursue as I had applied for a degree not a diploma. And she together with my high school teachers made sure I never lacked anything while studying there and they really became a pillar I could lean on and made me to be able to blend with all the students from wealthy families and my background not to be so obvious just by looking at me. I would not lie, had it not been of all the angels God provided me with, my situation would have really been worse. I remember one time in my second year in May, i had no cosmetics not even a washing soap and no money to buy them, I called at home, I had too even though I knew the situation, and I asked for just R150, and I had to wait for it to be borrowed for me.
  8. How important was family,friends and self-motivation at High school,university and at the beginning of your career?
    • Nothing is more important than family, friends and family you make along the way, these are people that you go to when in need, be it financial of emotional or when you fill low in confidence. This are people that appreciate you unconditionally and understand you.
    • Being in tertiary is a challenge and you need to be someone who is self motivated as there is no one that follows behind you to see if you attend classes, you do your assignments and also you must have self discipline as that is where pear pressure is so high that it may break you and shutter your dreams if you don’t have self discipline and a focus for what you aim on achieving.
    • You must also learn to understand your reasons for being there, what is at stake and set yourself targets.
    • Same as when you start work, you have to show your potential from the onset become an asset to your company not a liability. always remember that respect goes a long way in promoting a character more than anything else.
  9. What will you advise a young ,confused and demotivated young person to achieve his/her goals?
    • Work really hard in your high school years as that opens doors beyond your matric.
    • Don’t let your family financial situation define your success, strive to be better than where you are from.
    • Respect is the tool that you must always place before everything else you do.
    • There are a lot of opportunities out there, work hard to earn yours.
  10. What are you currently doing (career-wise and academically) and your future plans?
    • I’m currently a candidate Quantity Surveyor working for a professional quantity surveying consulting firm.
    • I plan on studying project management and law in the near future.
    • I’d love to get involved in business, own my own company and just assist more disadvantaged youngsters to get to where I am today.

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