When you first meet 24-year old Thobani Everest Dlakana (who prefers to be called Ted) you are struck by his confident smile and business-like manner. Little do you know of the literal ‘Everest’ he has climbed to reach Engen’s 7th Floor.
As one of three siblings growing up in a Langa shack, Ted describes how his mother worked as a self-employed tailor mending and making clothes so he could attend Thandokhulu School, where he excelled, despite the tough circumstances the family faced.
A promising learner, Ted also attended Engen’s Maths and Sciences School on Saturdays to supplement his school study. On completing matric he applied for an Engen Bursary to study Chemical Engineering at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
Following an Engen Bursary Programme interview in 2012, Engen offered to sponsor his studies and costs.
“You won’t believe how much Engen has done for me,” Ted says. “Back then I couldn’t imagine the value of the support or the opportunity they were giving me.”
While completing his studies, Ted worked at Engen during his vacations to gain valuable work experience.
Upon graduation, he joined Engen’s Graduate Development Programme. Ted now finds himself working in Engen’s Supply Chain Division, where he says he is privileged to be meeting and interacting with the very people behind the business’ success.
“My dream is to work with my colleagues to help make the systems and interactions seamless, simple and easy, and so to advance Engen’s goal of pursuing excellence in its business activities,” says Ted.
Ted still lives at home in Langa with his proud mother – his journey to work each day reminding him how far he has come, and what he has overcome, in order to enjoy an opportunity of a lifetime.