Alumni Profile of Botlhale Mabatshidi Nong
I started at Tsogo High School, in Std. 6, in 1982 and matriculated in 1986.I had a number of nicknames while there. was called “die ou boemelaar” (the old bag/homeless person) from this Afrikaans fictional piece we read in Ms Letebele’s class – because I carried a HUGE green bag with ALL my books and dictionaries, a thesauraus (English, Afrikaans and Setswana) and Bible in it. I was also called BoMaNo (the first two letters of my names). Even though I now have a degree in Sports Science, I did not participate in a lot of sporting activities except for karate, which was offered for a few months in the middle years of my time at Tsogo and drum majorettes, which ALL female students were forced to join – I hated this so much! It seemed to me that all the people participating in the major and most popular sports offered (netball, soccer, volleyball etc) were some of the most popular people at school – and I was not one of those. I did a bit of debating, theater and music (but these faded out pretty much as soon as they started). Our librarian started a few interesting “book and reading circle” type of activities that I also participated
Later I attended University of the Witwatersrand (Wits – Johannesburg) and obtained a B.Ed. I also attended Rand Afrikaans University (RAU – Johannesburg) and obtained a B.Ed: Didactics and Assessment and M.Ed: Adult Education, Training and Development. Futher I went on to New York University (NYU – New York City) for an M.A: Ed in International Education. I also have a Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Health Administration.
Currently, as an educator, I do actual teaching from K(kindergarten) to 12 (grade12) in English Language Arts (ELA), Global Studies and American History and Biology; tutoring for SHSAT, GED and Regents Prep.
As a grant-writer: I do research and collect material and information to write fundraising proposals for non-profit and non-governmental organizations, on a consultancy basis.
As a writer and translator: I write political non-fiction and historical narratives, novellas and short stories on current events and biographies. I also translate (front and back translations for international companies), recasting, proofreading and editing of pharmaceutical scripts and prompts. Sometimes, I also do recording in Setswana and Sesotho for said companies.
I write speeches for CEOs, CFOs and leaders in different fields – for presentation at national and international conferences and symposia.
I am also co-founder of a non-profit organization working in after-school and daycare services in the tristate: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
I am now in the conceptual stages of starting a culinary company with many tentacles that include: catering (with on and off-site prep.,) and event planning.
As a feminist and African womanist my greatest inspirations and role models include my mother, Mamadito Dudu Nong who gave me a sense of the range of interests and roles a woman can play in life. She worked in diverse fields ranging from nursing to librarianship to horticulture and African spiritual herbalism. She also never stopped learning and never thought the educative process ever came to an end. Sister Majella and Ms Letebele are also my role models in the way they showed how much power and effectiveness women can have – they were principal and vice-principal through my Tsogo years and led the school through some of the most tumultuous years in South African politics. In 1984, one of the most volatile pre-1994 years in SA, they single (double) handedly yet empathetically and emphatically, talked down rioting students from Ga-Rankuwa who were intent on storming Tsogo and disrupting learning processes.
As a lover of culinary arts I am inspired by my mother and my uncle, Maleho Mosimane and many chefs and cooks like Jacques Pepin, Julia Childs, Bobby Flay and Masihuru Morimoto.
Message to Alumni
We need to never, ever forget where we came from and why we have come as far as we have in our lives and careers. Giving back to Tsogo and the community of Mmakau and De-Wildt should be constant and foremost on our minds for we gained and were given so much by both the school and the community.
Let’s Remember: “To those who much is given, much is expected.”
Message to current Students
As it has been said: “To thine own self be true” – enjoy who you are; find and embrace your own true self and never, ever sell-out to the forces of ‘peer pressure’ and what’s ‘fashionable.’ As it says in that anonymous poem: Desiderata: “YOU are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here…” So, learn and imbibe as much as you can about the world and yourself, from your teachers and peers; work on your unique skills and talents and use them to empower and enrich yours and all our lives. Love, love, love every minute of being at Tsogo and create amazing memories for yourself and others. This, I believe is the message and point of being part of this precious and special community we call: Tsogo High School.
There are so many memories from my days at Tsogo, where do I begin?: The first “movie” we were shown of “The Origins and Development of the Accounting Process by Mr. Morobe; going up to the mountain by myself every once a week at lunchtime to look over Mmakau and wonder at it’s glory and splendor; the few classes when teachers had us go to the mountain for poetry classes; a little boy in Std. 6 when I was in Std. 9, who was from then-Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and used to bring me coconut-rice and eggplant/aubergine stew at every lunchtime; the drum majorettes practices when Mr. More whipped us on our shins for every single misstep, arriving at school and having to chase baboons and monkeys out of the classrooms (if someone forgot to close the windows the night before) – magical moments those; our wonderful librarian who used to carry a flask – with coffee – I believe, that she refilled every hour in the staff room; our first trip to Durban, KZN in 1982/3; the first (I believe) Matric Dance in 1986 – when we had on formal evening wear during the day! But more than anything; the friends I continue to remember and think about everyday, even now…more than two decades later.
For me, my significant achievements since I left Tsogo begin with what might on the surface look and sound so unrelated to the Tsogo-experience i.e. being a mother. Yet, I think, that I am a decent mother is entirely a result of the decent human being Tsogo teachers and administrators sought to make me.
Everything else pales in comparison but I will name and detail it nevertheless: I have been national Executive Director of non-governmental organization (NGO), have had my work (poetry and non-fiction work) published; travelled the world (about 22 European and 23 African countries) for work on the Steering Committee of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) towards the Education for All (EFA) and for many other projects, campaigns and consultations.
I’ve written and presented research papers at national, regional/continental and international conferences and have met and consulted with many heads of state, heads of international organizations like the UN, UNDP, IMF, World Bank, UNESCO, AU, Save the Children, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and many, many others.
At Tsogo there are those that I remember most. Of course, Sister Majella as my Maths teacher – who knew a woman could break down the bare essentials of mathematics with such ease – she remains an inspiration to me. The cohesiveness of the entire staff was also awesome – a friend of mine, Ditebogo and I were chosen to make lunch (sliced bread, peanut butter and tea), for the teachers everyday – so we got to see and experience them close and personal, outside the classroom. Mr. Mothata, my English teacher through Stds 6 and 7 remains a favourite in my memory because he took particular interest in making us ‘speak and work with’ English the right way…I used use a lot of “eehh, eehh” in my speech in my early years at Tsogo and he ‘cured’ me of that.
Connect with me
– Botlhale Nong on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/P9CYPV
More Alumni Profiles
- Alumni Profile: Izimangaliso Surprise Malatjie (Tsogo 1986-88)
- Alumni Profile: Dr. HM Molamu (Tsogo 1980)
- Alumni Profile: Mpho Mokgadi (Tsogo 2004)
- Alumni Profile: Nna Patrick Mosupye (Tsogo 1980)
- Alumni Profile: Portia Victoria Mogosetsi (Tsogo 2003)
- Alumni Profile: Gabisile Simelane (Tsogo 1996)
- Alumni Profile: Kgomotso Sekhute (Tsogo 1986)
- Alumni Profile: Keamogetsoe Maroo (Tsogo 2002)
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