Finishing an iLembe ICT course six months ahead of schedule, Sinenhlanhla Cele from KwaDukuza attributes her success to her commitment, “When I commit myself, I commit myself.”

Ms Cele is clearly someone who loves studying. She has successfully completed her Electrical Engineering (N6) and has done her in-service training at Stanger Hospital. When she saw the advert on the KwaDukuza Facebook page, she had no idea what coding was but decided to try anyway. She persevered through the first few modules which she found new and confusing.

In October 2021, 52 youths from KwaDukuza and Mandeni Municipalities enrolled in the iLembe ICT project to study coding and app and web development which will graduate them with a National Certificate in Systems Development (SAQA ID: 48872). This course prepares learners with necessary knowledge and skills for entry into the fast-paced and constantly changing digitalisation of the workplace.

The project is part of the Vuthela iLembe LED Support Programme which is a joint initiative of the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, the iLembe District Municipality, and the KwaDukuza and Mandeni Local Municipalities.

“The commitment of these youth is evident. To complete a 12-month course in six months, facing the normal challenges youth face on top of COVID-19, the civil unrest and the floods is remarkable and bodes really well for their future careers,” said Ms Shannon Moffet, Vuthela Technical Co-ordinator: Private Sector Development  and Building Inclusive Growth.

Recognising that many youths do not have access to computers and data at home, the project has partnered with the district’s development agency, Enterprise iLembe, to make available their ICT Incubator for the KwaDukuza youth to complete their studies. Likewise, in Mandeni, a partnership with the Moses Kotane Institute has seen the Digital Centre on the Mandeni Campus of the Umfolozi TVET college being available for use by the youths in the iLembe ICT programme.


Along with four other youth – Nelisiwe Zephi, Sinenhlanhla Mncube, Siyanda Mncube, and Thubelihle Mbatha who finished ahead of schedule, Ms Cele received her certificate at a Youth Day function Youth Day in KwaDukuza Council Chambers. The certificates were handed out by His Worship Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ntuli and Portfolio Chair, Cllr Cele.

“As Vuthela, we will be looking to continue supporting these youth with assisting them in finding work placements or if they are entrepreneurial and wanting to start their own business, we are currently looking with our project partners to see how they can be supported in this,” said Ms Moffet.

Ms Cele has advice to youth who are still involved in the programme: “Never stop learning. Coding is the future and there are many opportunities.” Now with the course under her belt, Ms Cele says she would like to continue her coding journey either through finding employment or by pursuing her studies further.

Students in pic from left to right: Thubelihe Mbatha, Sinenhlanhla Cele, Sinenhlanhla Mncube, Nelisiwe Zephi and Siyanda Mncube