Bongani Mcobothi

Programme manager and facilitator, Fli Hi Training

Bongani Mcobothi didn’t have an easy childhood. His father left his mother while she was pregnant and she passed away shortly after he was born. Mcobothi (29) was sent to a home for abandoned and abused children in Umlazi, before ending up at an orphanage in Umlazi where he grew up. At 18, he had to make way for other children, and learnt to fend for himself, working as a cashier and shop assistant.

Although life was difficult, he chose to see the positives in his situation: “I learnt to be patient, to love other kids who were in similar condition, and to be self-disciplined.” He completed a three-month life skills and leadership development training course with World Changers Academy (WCA), a KZN-based nongovernmental organisation, joining them as a community mobiliser, facilitator and programme manager thereafter.

During his time with WCA, from 2011 to 2016, Mcobothi trained between 4 000 and 6 000 young people in various fields including life skills, leadership and computer literacy. Community halls, churches and other private venues were used for these classes, which catered for between 100 to 300 learners. “I was involved in these personal mastery programmes in almost all the townships and rural areas under the eThekwini Municipality,” he says. “I facilitated topics like vision, purpose, goal setting, social issues, leadership, self-leadership, job readiness, career guidance and branding and communication.”

Earlier this year Mcobothi joined Fli Hi Training as a programme manager and facilitator. The company offers different types of business and entrepreneur training, and he is responsible for its business practice learnership and leadership development training. He was recently part of a team responsible for selecting potential entrepreneurs to undergo a 12-month business practice learnership, and was thrilled to be afforded the opportunity to identify talent in his hometown of Chesterville.

Mcobothi is currently studying towards a degree in social work. “It has been a pleasure to serve my country at a young age and I am looking forward to continue serving my people,” he says.

— Fatima Asmal