At 51 years old, Inspector Bhongolethu Magcai has proved it’s never too late to chase your dreams. Bhongolethu works in Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s (JMPD) VIP Protection Unit and recently achieved a milestone by obtaining his matric qualification, thanks to the City’s Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) programme.
His journey in the City began in 1996 when he joined the VIP unit under the security department of the City. He has worked with prominent figures and offices like former Executive Mayor Amos Masondo, heads of departments and the chief of police.
His journey in the protection unit eventually led him to become a qualified metro police officer and early in his career he completed ABET level 3. He had a stint at the JMPD Academy as a marching and military drill instructor. Bhongolethu then completed an education training and development programme sponsored by the City to work as an instructor.
Despite his accomplishments, the absence of a matric qualification weighed on his mind as he aspired to further his career. He decided to take action and enrolled in the City’s ABET programme again, this time for his matric qualification. His classes were held on Thursdays and Fridays. He was surrounded by younger students, but that didn’t deter him. He remained focused on his goal, displaying an unwavering commitment to his own journey of self-improvement.
Earlier this year, Bhongolethu’s hard work and determination paid off when he successfully passed his matric with a diploma pass. He attributes his success to the support and motivation he received from the course facilitator, the JMPD Acting Chief of Police and everyone who encouraged him along the way.
“I wouldn’t have achieved things without the support of my colleagues. My supervisors and the Acting Chief were also my cheerleaders. I’m truly grateful for all the support, including that from my family,” says Bhongolethu.
He firmly believes in the power of education and encourages others to make use of the resources provided by the City.
“Please use this opportunity and grow in the City,” he says and emphasise the importance of lifelong learning and personal development. Bhongolethu hails from Diepkloof, Soweto. From a young age he was exposed to the company of struggle heroes and activists.
He had previously served as a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe. He describes himself as a committed individual who never backs down when he sets his mind onto something.
“It’s never too late to pursue one’s educational aspirations, even when the odds are stacked against you,” says Bhongolethu.