Fannie is a PROTEC stalwart who has added tremendous value, guidance, and support to the organisation and its people for nine eventful years, having joined in November 2013.
Fannie says his passion for education support in STEM careers evolved with his recognition for the desperate need for youngsters with successful careers in STEM fields. “Without STEM careers, our country will not be competitive globally,” he adds.
He has also witnessed many scientists and engineers emerging from rural Limpopo where Fannie attended school, and contributing immensely to the country as a whole. Fannie believes that this places PROTEC in a strong, strategic position as it not only supports disadvantaged communities,
“but it also helps to redress the imbalance of the past, ensuring that the ‘gems’ of rural areas are not left undiscovered in the dust, but discovered, polished, and placed where they can shine.”
Fannie was born in Hammanskraal in Gauteng, about 50km from Pretoria, as both his parents had been migrant workers at Babelegi Industrial Complex. But when school days dawned, he was sent to Muduluni near Makhado in Limpopo as his parents preferred him to learn his home language of Tshivenda.
After matriculating at Kutama Senior Secondary School, Fannie embarked on what was to become a productive academic career, obtaining his Secondary Teachers Diploma at Makhado College of Education, followed by a BEd (Hons) in Technology Education from RAU, Johannesburg, now the University of Johannesburg, and a BEd (Hons) in Computer Integrated Education from the University of Pretoria.
Between 2013 and 2017 he achieved a BA in Theology and a Master’s in Biblical Theology from Faith Bible College, in Lenasia south of Johannesburg.
His work career has also been diverse and productive, ensuring relevant skills development for success in STEM education support. Before joining PROTEC, he worked at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg; the Gauteng Department of Education’s GETs Technology Education Curriculum and eLearning Directorates; Funda Centre as Lab Technician in Diepkloof, Soweto; Forté High School in Dobsonville, Soweto, as Technology Head of Department; and other teaching positions, including in ABET.
Fannie is responsible for overseeing all PROTEC’s operational activities, for National Office projects and for the branches.
He was also asked by the Board to deputise for Balan Moodley, now CEO, following the departure of the previous CEO, assist in financial administration, and represent PROTEC in stakeholder relationship management.
Fannie notes that his education, training, and past experienced have ensured excellent strengths for his work at PROTEC. “As a qualified education and teacher, my strength is in understanding educational issues, and having served at the GDE as a Curriculum Specialist in technology education, my understanding of the move from NATED (Senior Certificate) to CAPS (the curriculum and assessment policy statement).”
His other strengths include understanding the different facets of science education (through Sci-Bono), and the science and resources field.
Opportunities for youth
Fannie has a deep appreciation of the opportunities that PROTEC gives learners who would not otherwise have had them, adding that PROTEC’s annual report and testimonials from past students bear witness to this. He adds, “We remain steadfast about harvesting talent for our programmes, and are proud to see many coming back to us, to give back to new PROTEC students. Even when some past PROTEC students don’t come back to us, we are not deterred and we keep moving on. Our love for our programmes doesn’t falter, even under the most trying economic conditions.”
His key points of pride in what PROTEC represents and delivers are:
Fannie doesn’t hesitate about the person who has inspired him most in his life. “My mother, Kutama Ralufhe-Matumba. Now 92, she is still going strong and I will do all I can to make her happy. This was the illiterate wonderful woman who readily gave over her earnings from sweeping shop floors and making tea so that I could get an education and be the person I am today. I owe my being to her.”
Advice to PROTEC youngsters
Fannie’s advice comes from much experience. “Grab this opportunity and a guard it jealously. There are many who came before you and succeeded. You can do it too. Your background will not and should not determine your destiny.”
PROTEC is a leading South African non-profit organisation, operating nationally in the field of STEM education since 1982.
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