Inspired to teach
Thembile Zuma and Pamela Nel
Thembile Zuma and Pamela Nel embody the values espoused by Hilton College. Hard working, perseverant and tenacious, both women joined Hilton College in administrative positions and worked their way into teaching posts at the school.
Thembile (35) was born in Edendale, the daughter of a domestic worker and a shoemaker. After matriculating, she worked as a cleaner for a few months before her course in office administration started. Once qualified, she took up a temporary job as a filing clerk for a construction company until the work dried up.
“I can’t sit at home and do nothing, so I volunteered as a clerk at Sanzwili Primary, the school I went to as a child. While I was there, I was invited to an interview at Hilton College. I had never heard of the school.”
Thembile started working for Hilton as a receptionist in 2011. Two years later she registered with Unisa for her Bachelor of Education and today is one of the school’s Zulu teachers.
“While I was working at reception, I could see myself as a teacher here. It took me seven years to get my degree. I had to fund my studies and I was building a home for my parents. It was a long road, but it was fulfilling, and I thank God and Hilton College.”
Pam (36) is also a local. She comes from farming stock and went to Epworth before obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce degree. From there she found work in the banking sector in London, where she started out as a receptionist and later a portfolio manager’s assistant. “Throughout, I studied to improve myself. I was ambitious and wanted to prove myself in a male-dominated world.”
She went on to obtain her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) accreditation, with a view to becoming a financial planner or portfolio manager. But life changed when she became a mom. Pam took a job as a secretary in the sports department at Hilton College so that she could spend more time with her children in their early years. Before long, she found herself studying again. “I swore I wouldn’t study again! But something spurred me on,” says the newest edition to the economics department.
“I love teaching. I love the autonomy to do it my way. Within the curriculum you have that liberty. I also feel I have a purpose here. As a woman, I need to teach these boys that women are equal to men.”