One of our friendliest and most dedicated staff members, Mandilakhe Mange, is ready to give you your daily dose of inspiration!
Mandi is Oxbridge Academy’s quality assurance officer, ensuring that our staff are providing the best possible customer service to students. He is humble and soft-spoken, but in Mandi’s case, still waters run deep — there is plenty of wisdom under that calm surface! We couldn’t wait to sit down with him to get some of his insights into life, spirituality and success.
Can you tell us about your upbringing in the Eastern Cape?
I come from the small town of Somerset East. We did not live an easy life under apartheid. My parents were never married. My father was an unskilled construction worker and my mother was a domestic worker. My grandmother was the main person who cared for me, and our household was shared by many other family members. Growing up in this way really taught me to become independent.
Can you describe your father’s influence on you?
My father was a great example to me because he worked so hard in the face of such difficult circumstances. He became a construction foreman through his dedication and love of his job. He was also very good at rugby, playing for the famous Harlequins Rugby Club, which was an incredible achievement for a black man at that time. Unfortunately he passed away when I was a teenager but he still inspires me, especially when I hear the stories from community members who tell me how amazing he was.
I followed in his sporting footsteps too. I played soccer, cricket and basketball and excelled at all three. I played for a few years for the South African National Basketball Team and I have coached a few sides too.
What did you study and what challenges were you faced with?
I studied a Management Assistant Course in Port Elizabeth before I moved to Cape Town in 2003 to study LLB Law at the University of the Western Cape. The greatest challenge I faced was the financial burden of paying for my studies. I had to drop out after two years due to financial reasons. Many students in South Africa go through the struggle of not being able to afford an education, so it is great that I can now work at a college that can help them.
What do you do at Oxbridge Academy?
I was first employed in 2015 in a support role. Currently I am the Quality Assurance Officer, making sure that our staff are upholding high standards of customer service. I also provide training to them.
What inspires you to overcome your challenges and reach your goals?
I am the father of five beautiful children. I love them so much that I never want them to suffer, everything I am and what I do is motivated by them. My spirituality is also extremely important to me. Every morning, I start the day with self-prayers and mantras, and I end the day with them too.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt in life?
Life has taught me to be simple, honest and loyal, and to see God in everyone and everything. I also believe strongly that being a good example is the best teaching aid to assist others. My positive attitude and never-say-die spirit have given me strength and helped me to be independent.
Mandi’s favourite quotes in striving for success:
“The secret of happiness is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you have to do.” – Sri Sathya Sai Baba
“I don’t have a problem aiming high and missing, but I do have a problem aiming low and hitting. Because in missing, I have an opportunity to dust off and try again, while hitting low grows complacency.” – Unknown.