ICT Education Propels One South African Woman from Child to Role Model

April 1, 2013 - 10 Comments

Soso-head-shotGuest blog by Ntombozuko (Soso) Luningo

Soso Luningo is a trainer with the ICT Academy at CIDA City Campus in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she trains students on the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum

This is my first blog ever, long overdue since I am an expressive person. Everywhere I have ever spoken, the question has been: “Why don’t you have a blog?” Well there you go folks. I finally decided to write this blog because I am grateful to the Cisco Networking Academy for affording me the opportunity to have influence and make great contributions to the future of previously disadvantaged South African youth.

I have been involved in the Cisco Networking Academy programme from the “baby” (student) days of my career and I am now raising about 50 babies every single year as an instructor at the ICT Academy at CIDA City Campus in Johannesburg, South Africa.

I myself was a NetAcad student at CIDA City Campus, and I feel the program is the best way anyone can learn, and I mean absolutely anyone. The flexibility of the Networking Academy curriculum allowed the faster learner I was to push my abilities to the furthest extent without frustrating the rest of the class. Admittedly, I was also one of the naughty students; I got bored easily, but the curriculum kept me in check. There was always something new to challenge me every step of the way. It became my teacher, my research (trial and error) point, and guide for my future career.


Cisco Networking Academy students get hands-on experience designing, building, maintaining, and securing computer networks.

After I completed the program, I was a networking administrator for two years. I worked the dreaded night shift maintaining and monitoring a well built network, and the naughty student started bubbling to the surface. I became a “toddler” in networking. I started messing with a live network and challenging other technicians to figure out solutions to the problems I created until the boss suggested I start training them. I held training sessions for IT staff on the only technology I am passionate about: Cisco networks. The passion started when I was a Network+ certification student; I always wanted to know what is “beyond the scope of N+,” as my instructor would say.

That is when I received a call from the CIDA ICT Academy to come work as a trainer. A lot had changed with Cisco Networking Academy by then, which is one of the pros because technology never stands still. I had to face a few other changes: the environment, different communication styles, and ironically a lot of naughty “mini-me’s.”


CIDA ICT Academy students Charity Mamonyane, Zamaneungwa Mjoli

I took a step up in the programme as far as roles are concerned; I became a teenager (a student instructor), which meant learning to “baby-sit.” I chose this path not only to mentor young people, but to also embrace the student creativity and inquisition our education system chose to ignore. What keeps me in teaching is the success of my students in the industry. The reason I haven’t gone back to the industry is, when I look at the statistics of unemployment in South Africa I simply tell myself “I am not done.”

After a few years of being a young adult, I had to rapidly become an adult (instructor trainer) and before I knew it, I was being trusted to support and look after other academies. My advancement proves that the Cisco Networking Academy was made for utterly anyone: young, old, fast, slow, theoretical thinker, practical thinker, man, woman. Go on, it is waiting for you.

Read Soso’s story and see photos from the CIDA ICT Academy on csr.cisco.com.

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  1. I personally met and engage with Soso, she is quite passionate and indeed a good role model, wishing you all the best.

  2. very very impresive. thanks for grooming us.

  3. WOW!!!WOOW!!WOOOOW!!!Soso,you are a true inspiration especially to young,black and female students who think they can not do this networking/cisco thing.This is a great blog and I hope this is not the last time we hear from you.Keep up the good work.

    • I must say I am impressed and at the same time euphoric, I can’t be speechless because I know where you coming from, maybe I should say this in the language I comprehend the most “Ngiyaziqhenya ngawe. I hope this is only the begging, there is a lot more to be achieved.

  4. Congrats Soso, it seems you are living your dream, your story is very inspiring.
    Ps: I think you should blog more!!

  5. As one of your babies(2010 students), i say well done and continue with the good work that you are doing.

  6. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Soso. I’m glad you decided to write your first blog for Cisco!

  7. This is inspiring. I like learning how individuals use opportunity to change their lives and inspire others.

  8. woooow!! well done,you better believe it …you deserve it!!

  9. I still cannot believe this