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How education has set me on a path toward limitless potential

There have been many turning points in Lindy Chabalala’s life – and they all share a common theme: the power of education. Whether it’s the intervention of a high school teacher that stopped her from settling for work as a domestic worker or, more recently, her studies toward a PGDip and MBA at Henley Business School Africa, Lindy has found education to be a driving force in the upward trajectory of her life.

I’m a manager at Vodacom now – but my first job out of school was as a domestic worker. And I might have stayed in that career had it not been for one of my high school teachers, Rose Modiselle. She had other ideas for my future and told me: “Lindy, you must go and study!” She connected me to the people she knew at universities and ensured that I was able to get a government loan. I did not know about that type of loan before Rose.

Teachers are not appreciated enough – we are who we are because of them. Rose’s advice changed me and the whole course of my life; attending university opened a door for me. I did not finish my degree, but while I was studying, I was recruited by Vodacom, and I have been here now for 18 years!

I owe a lot to Vodacom. They’ve raised me here – I’ve grown so much! I came as an intern – but now I’m a manager. And because of the field we work in – technology – we’re always responding to the rapid changes of the outside world. It’s a very exciting environment. You’re always putting out fires, solving issues. I see people leaving, but they always come back! It is that exciting.

I also love that I’m able to align my work with my purpose. On the outside, it might look like what I’m doing is offering mobile coverage to people – but there’s much more. To me, my work is really about helping a child or student attend school or university online, to be able to connect with their loved ones, or it’s to empower that small business that relies on mobile technology. I find meaning here, knowing that when I sleep, my work will have helped somebody to go to school.

To me, this is extremely important because I believe education and personal development are the greatest gifts that you can give to yourself. I’ve seen how these things have improved my own life. First university, then internal courses at Vodacom, and then my PGDip and the MBA I’m currently doing at Henley Business School. Henley, especially, has taken my development to the next level, changed the way I see the world and helped me see that it is possible to remove barriers that are getting in the way of my path toward my goals. In fact, I have been telling everybody I work with to go to Henley – I am like a recruiter for them! I can’t say enough good things.

The people at Henley are incredible. Once again, it was my teachers there that encouraged me to go further and pursue the MBA. Janet Brumme, Rozanna and Elijah – we still have a WhatsApp group together, and because of them, I am emotionally attached to Henley. One lecturer in particular, Melanie Prinsloo, has really helped to guide me. At first, I failed the course that she taught – but I have since passed. And her modules have inspired me to chase after my side hustles. I’d like to reopen a fashion business I started years ago, and because of the PGDip exam case study, I am even planning on becoming a bee farmer one day. It really feels as if my potential is limitless. When I think how far I have come over the years, I am truly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the people who’ve given them to me.

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