Knowledge Network will be trading in Australia under the trademark KnowNet.
Published in: Leadership Magazine
Edition 265 November 2006






Fulfilling dreams

From cleaner to admin support, from customer care manager to director of operations, from educator to international representative, from educator to graphics designer – for all the wonderful women who are part of the Knowledge Network team and who learn through Knowledge Network, there is no limit to what can be achieved.

Who would have thought that a cleaner could become an administrative support person reporting to a director? Or become a homeowner and successful single parent? Or wake up one day at 4am to catch a SAA flight to Port Elizabeth to represent a company in meetings?

This is a success story about Nanzile Ncube who arrived in Johannesburg, jobless, but full of hope and dreams. Her story inspires other people, helps single parent families overcome difficulties and reminded us that it is not the job you do that determines who you are in life.

“I came to Johannesburg to look for a job and was lucky enough to find one as a cleaner for a director and shareholder of a leading educational institution. Her name is Jil Hrdliczka and she is still my boss today, except that I am the now the administration support person to the director of operations, and she is managing director of her company.”

“When I worked for Jil as a cleaner, in our spare time, we used to sit down and chat about life, our future and our dreams. I always told her that I wanted to be a clerk. She told me that she wanted to open her own company and when she did, she would teach me typing, how to use a computer, and how to do admin work. At the time, I did not believe what I heard, it was like a dream come true for me, I was overjoyed with the news I had heard.”

“Four years later, in 1994, Jil opened her own company now called Knowledge Network. Her aim was to teach children about computers and how to use them. She did not care whether they had knowledge of computers or not. Every child was welcome.” Today, many of the courses that were run at Knowledge Network in 1994 and 1995 are run in schools. Educators are trained in a unique learning methodology developed by Jil and are trained to present sessions to the learners in their classes or in computer literacy classes. 

“I started working part-time – she taught me how to type, and do the photocopying. It was not easy for me but bit-by-bit I started to cope. I also started to do filing, and to type newsletters for the kids. These newsletters were sent to different places across South Africa. Although it was tough, I met all the deadlines.”

“I think she saw I had ability and a high level of interest in my work. She then trained me to do frontline work, to invoice clients, handle customer queries, sales and express myself when dealing with customers. I also learned how to mentor children aged 3 and 4.” At that time (1994), Knowledge Network offered courses and holiday programmes for kids and teenagers. State-of-the-art technology was used, including Apple computers for graphics and video editing, as well as Windows-based PCs, electronic encyclopaedias, Corel and Microsoft software products, and the Internet.

“I also started handling registration of adults and children, did data capturing which is considered to be a very important task at Knowledge Network, and printing of certificates for learners who achieved 70% and more in their year-end assessments.” Learners from Grade 04 to Grade 12 can complete Knowledge Network year-end assessments for their grade/level.

“I am now working for the Director of Operations of Knowledge Network. My job is varied, challenging, demanding and requires good time management, planning, IT, coping, and communication skills. I also support the educators who are involved in the programme, providing them with information about their training, their assessments, and sometimes I get the opportunity to travel to other cities to meet them.” Nanzile’s first airplane flight and walk on the beach took place during a trip to meet the educators she supports.

“I thank Jil for transforming my life and helping me to fulfil my dreams. Jil is not a boss to me, she is like family, she is everything to me.”

There are no limits for Nanzile, except those she herself sets. “Next step for her is a driver’s licence, to buy her own car, to travel to schools to support the director of operations, and to support those who are now starting to learn how to make computers work for them,” says Jil Hrdliczka, Managing Director of Knowledge Network.





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Date of update: 18 February 2009