Middelburg-born Doctor Mahlangu (25) is an apprentice boilermaker at Phalanndwa Colliery, in Delmas, Mpumalanga, who recently made it to the final round of the Mr Mpumalanga modelling and fashion competition.
Doctor started his career at Canyon Coal’s Hakhano Colliery, in Middelburg, in 2018 before being transferred to the company’s Phalanndwa Colliery, in Delmas, in November 2019. He is currently working towards completing his Canyon Coal Apprentice Programme*, which has been carefully developed to provide theoretical knowledge and provide Doctor with the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experience.
Furthermore, he has been given the opportunity to participate in major repairs at the mine, under the strict supervision of qualified artisans.
“I have learnt various aspects of boiler making including being able to demonstrate an understanding of a variety of engineering fabrication methods. This includes how to interpret structural and engineering drawings and be able to develop and lay out metal work pieces for fabrication,” says Doctor, outlining some of the critical lessons he has learnt during his time as an apprentice at Canyon Coal.
Additionally, Doctor notes that he has learnt about producing complex metal components; using and maintaining engineering hand and power tools – all while adhering to occupational health, safety and environmental requirements.
He says that an emphasis has been placed on being able to communicate with peers and members at different supervisory levels. “It is very important to be able to communicate clearly with others to allow for the effective and concise flow of communication to ensure the correct work is done right, the first time” states Doctor.
“I have been participating in fashion shows and pageants since I was in Grade 9. I enjoyed modelling and it became a passion of mine. Mr Mpumalanga 2020 was the first time that I formally participated in such a competition, as previously I only had participated in fashion shows,” remarks Doctor.
He explains that Mr Mpumalanga is much more than just a fashion and beauty contest. “Mr Mpumalanga is a platform and tool to inspire men to be the best they can be, and mould them into becoming role models and agents of change within society.”
Doctor points out that an important aspect of the contest is giving back to the communities by running charitable and educational projects, noting that he did this all at his own expense as he was unfortunately unable to secure a sponsor. This included buying school bags, school uniforms, sports equipment, giving motivational talks to young boys and playing sports with them.
“It was challenging balancing studies, work, running community projects and competing in the contest but I enjoyed every minute. I am grateful to Canyon Coal and my colleagues for voting for me throughout the competition,” Doctor enthuses.
*There was an erratum in the printed edition of The Maroon Post in relation to the length of the Canyon Coal Apprenticeship Programmes. On average they are 24 months in total.