Name: Ntombikayise Patience Matiwane (aka Ntombie) Cele; Ndosi; Magaye; Khumbuza; Nkomisengwilele.

Birthday: 26 February

1. Please share your upbringing with us

I was born in KwaMakhutha in Durban. I am the youngest of the Matiwanes and I have two brothers. Our family relocated to Imbali township unit 13 in 1988. I have been a traveller at a fairly young age, with my first primary school journey starting from KwaThambo primary school, then to ZamaZulu primary school in Imbali Township unit 2 (where I only did Standard 3) and completing at Khwezi primary school in Sobantu. Despite my professional career that is based in Gauteng, I am still rooted at Imbali Township and see my friends and folks every now and again. I am fortunate to have kept friends dating back from primary school days and some still reside within Imbali Township as well.

2. What were the challenges that you had to overcome during your upbringing?

Firstly; the relocation due to political violence was very unsettling for me as a young person. This meant that I had to often move primary schools and that can be daunting for a young person. I made the best of it by keeping my friends from then until now and this has enhanced my ability to handle diverse challenges throughout my lifetime. 

Secondly; when I was meant to start with my tertiary education, there was a miscommunication with the Pretoria Technikon administrator who mistakenly enrolled me within the engineering discipline instead of my much desired Clinical Technology (CT). After two weeks at the Technikon and having spent sometime at Iscor Pretoria, doing practical work, I informed my parents of this problem. Since the CT class was suspended for a year, the Technikon alternatively offered me a Veterinary Technology course which I declined. I concluded that this would have been a disservice to poor animals considering that this wasn’t my passion at all. Furthermore, since I hadn’t been accepted at other institutions and also some institutions didn’t offer this course, I was stuck between the rock and the hard place. This completely disrupted my plans! I thought of taking a year’s break from studying, however, my Dad wouldn’t have her child twiddling thumbs at home. I am grateful to my supportive parents for their sound advice of doing a bridging course at ML Sultan Technikon in Durban. Despite the fact that this was a detour; it re-focused and reinvigorated my spirit to pursue my dream career of Clinical Technology. At the end of the semester, I re-applied at Pretoria Technikon and managed to be enrolled for the following year. 

Thirdly, whilst doing my in-service training at a Military Hospital I was lectured in Afrikaans, my notes were in Afrikaans, but I was examined in English. I literally studied using a dictionary to translate from Afrikaans to English. My will to succeed enabled me to overcome this challenge and pass my diploma.

3. What career are you pursuing right now?

I am a qualified Clinical Technologist working within a Private Practice. My first passion was becoming a doctor which couldn’t materialise due to financial constraints. Amazingly, I discovered the Clinical Technology career by reading an A-Z careers book whilst at the library in Pietermaritzburg. This was deemed a unique career during that era, however, I am grateful to my parents who unconditionally supported me to pursue it. They didn’t second-guess me nor questioned whether it was a financially rewarding one. My profession involves “matters of the heart” but as in applying technology to diagnose the function or malfunction of the heart. Together with the Cardiologist’s assessment, the diagnosis is discussed with the patient and a remedial solution is implemented (if necessary).

I trained at the Military Hospital in Pretoria and have met key figures in society through my work. I went on to work in Saudi Arabia for two years. I did find it fascinating how the Saudi Arabian society (women specifically) emphasised the significance of hair in women, the hair length in particular (amongst other things). There were times when women would frown upon me with my short hair when I was treating them. At times I would be asked in the streets as to what happened to my hair! Clinical Technology is my main passion now and I foresee myself being a lifetime Clinical Technologist, in Private Practice and if an opportunity arises, I will venture into rural health education in Government as a State Professional.

4. What are the difficult choices that you had to make to achieve your goals?

My parents were very instrumental towards the achievement of my goals, consequently, I consider myself to have been fortunate in my endeavours. When I was faced with the difficult choice of pursuing a career I didn’t like or stay at home or persevering through a long route, I chose the long route. At times this felt like I had wasted my whole year! As much as my parents had a big say in the long route, it would have been possible for me to resort to engineering but my focus on my vision meant that I stick to my guns. I had to live with the fact that my friends would be a year ahead of me going forward. In the end, it worked out well for me and I am happy with the choice I made.

5. What motivates you?

I am motivated by making a difference and as a Clinical Technologist I am fulfilled. There are many people out there who do not wake up and look forward to their workplace, but, fortunately I am happy to say that I am one of those people that look forward to each day’s work. I have touched many people’s hearts through my work and I am encouraged to see the fruit of my work as it positively impacts their lives. Despite occasional disappointments from unsuccessful heart procedures, I take comfort on the fact I always give my best. I am happy to have this feeling of making a difference.

6. What do you enjoying doing the most?

I really enjoy travelling! “If travelling was free, you would never see me again”. I have been to Saudi Arabia for 2 years, courtesy of my career passion! Yep, that’s how colourful my journey has been and the travelling bug has had me ever since. I acknowledged the significance of knowing your own country when the Saudis kept asking me if I knew how beautiful Cape Town was. When I got back home, seeing Cape Town was first on my list. I hope to do more and more of travelling the lengths and breadths of our beautiful South Africa. I haven't done badly thus far.

7. What advice can you give to our aspiring young women of Imbali?

Firstly, they must go to school “Abafunde”. I attribute my colourful journey to education. Secondly, they need to exercise patience and enjoy childhood by being children. It is easy to stray when one is out of parent’s sight, however, it is not worth it. Actually, why chase things that you will ultimately get and enjoy later on in your life?

8. What you like or liked about Imbali Township?

Firstly, I flourished like a flower through my childhood by enjoying games such as “Magalobha and 3 Tins” which has been subsequently replaced by technology.

Since I grew up in Imbali Township; it feels “free” to drive even at night in my familiar surroundings when compared to driving in town. Even my car tracker doesn’t signal for a dangerous area as it does in some other townships! I also reckon that the Imbali township schools delivered good education that was on par with its peers and I never felt any sense of inferiority of quality of my education during my schooling years.

9. What should Imbali Township focus on in-order to create the best township in  the world for generations to come?

  • Education of people is important
  • Participation in sports is critical. Karate was a big thing at some point! Stage plays as well.
  • Nurture different talent. Acknowledge that our youth that imitate our actors and actresses may actually have potential talent to be stars and
  • Overall, we need to be open-minded about career choices

10. How should Imbali Township support prosperity of its women?

  • Conduct workshops for girls to provide them guidance. Our girls, especially grade 9s need to be advised on what they want to do.
  • We need to articulate the good stories of Imbali township women for positive reinforcement and
  • I would be happy to plough back myself on this mission…