Jacob Nxadi is sporting his fourth dan.


Ntate Jacob helps because he was helped

After nearly 35 years, Jacob Nxadi or Bra Jay is more than a familiar face on the Vanderbijlpark campus – he is family.


Jacob works as an administrative assistant at Stores in the Maintenance department. At 59 years of age, this resident of nearby Boipatong is still chasing his dreams.


“It is a wonderful feeling to have been able to work at an institution like the NWU uninterrupted for almost 35 years,” says Jacob, who joined the NWU in 1985.


He describes the progress that the NWU has seen since then as phenomenal. “There are so many more students, better infrastructure and increased community involvement.”


He came a long way


With a matric qualification, he started on campus as a gardener.

Today, he is an alumnus of the NWU with an honours degree in public administration and is thankful for the opportunities that working at the NWU has afforded him. That is why he is constantly encouraging his colleagues to make use of the benefits available to them to further their studies.


Getting a kick out of karate


The NWU has also supported him in the development of his karate career.


Jacob recently obtained his fourth dan in karate and is a sensei and chairman of the Matsushima Vaal Triangle Club. He also belongs to the Gauteng Club, where he is junior only to Shihan (teacher of teachers) Noah Pembe, who holds a fifth dan.


As chairman of the Vaal Triangle Club, Jacob facilitates cooperation between the eight clubs in the Vaal Triangle and helps with operational challenges. He also acts as a mentor and, in close cooperation with Shihan Noah, certifies grading up to third dan level.


“I help because I was helped,” says Jacob, referring to how he was taught the sport of karate as a teenager and of how his employment at the university enabled him to further his studies.


What’s next for Jacob?


He is already hard at work towards earning his fifth dan. “The next grading is only in 2023, but I must stay fit and on top of my game if I want to make it,” says Jacob. He is also learning as much from his Shihan as possible.


During office hours, however, it is business as usual for Ntate Jacob, as he is fondly known. His friendly face and service with a smile is well known and much loved on the campus, and he lives his mantra every day: “I help, because I was helped.”