Phikolomzi Gugwana grew up in Mount Ayliff in the Eastern Cape but attended a secondary school in Wentworth, Durban as there were no high schools in Mount Ayliff that taught in English.
From an early age, Phikolomzi (his name means ‘wings’) showed great aptitude for maths and science, subjects he describes as ‘low-volume’ because they are based on little content, rather, principles and formulae.
“Math and Physics are well suited to someone who doesn’t particularly like to read,” he says.
Having attended Engen’s Maths and Sciences School on Saturdays, and on completing his matric, he applied for an Engen Bursary to study a B.Com in Statistics and Economics at the University of Cape Town.
Whilst graduates join the company with no fixed position (their first year is spent across a variety of functions), Phikolomzi joined Engen’s, which manages Engen’s liquidity and cash flow on a daily basis. Here he has been given clear roles to play in a programme created for him: these span two functions across each of three disciplines: Insurance, Africa Controller and Operations.
Phikolomzi has always expected a bright future and has found a real sense of belonging at Engen.
“I really appreciate the company’s culture and beliefs – they put their money into growing people skills,” he says.
His dream is to become a Data Scientist; a key strategic role which he believes will be significant in tomorrow’s world.
“There is so much you can learn and infer from simple data,” he concludes.
Phikolomzi currently lives in Rosebank in Cape Town, close to UCT. On his journeys into the City each day, he reflects just how far he has come in 22 years since his early years in Mount Ayliff, and what his future looks like, now that Engen has given him wings and space to fly.