Basia Phomane attempted the CTA twice, failed ITC five times, did CTA twice again, and then successfully passed both the ITC and APC. Tragically, he passed away four days after achieving his ultimate dream of becoming a CA(SA). In honour of Basia, we would like to share this inspirational piece he wrote before he passed away …

The key to success lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

The feeling caused by failure is devastating, especially if one has been working hard at preparation for an exam. Often, the failure is not the result of lack of studying and preparation and in the same way as in grief over significant loss; most people (myself included) go through a series of emotions after being unsuccessful in an exam.

Most people either choose to give up, or, they make the choice to try again by using a different approach, they may become angry and give up or they may choose that a better attitude will help them give it another try.

It’s very important to realise that personal reaction to failure can determine if a person will eventually gain success. I believe my own personal experience can be used to encourage other people never to give up on their dreams.

I first attempted CTA in 2005 at the University of the Free State. I was not successful in the exam and I decided to give it another try with the same university. I passed it in 2006 (being my second attempt) and then wrote the SAICA Qualifying Exam (Now called Initial Test of Competence) in 2007. I was unsuccessful in this exam for five consecutive years. SAICA had a regulation at the time that candidates were only afforded five consecutive examination opportunities to sit for the exam. Five unsuccessful attempts in this exam meant I had to re-do CTA.

In 2012 I made a decision to register CTA with Unisa. I failed CTA that year. At this point, I had almost given up, started thinking of other career options. I was almost convinced this was not meant for me.

In January 2013, my wife and I made a decision that we were going to draw up a prayer list. We listed everything we were trusting God for (including passing CTA). We put the list on the wall and prayed for these items. Indeed, God’s promises are yes and amen. I passed CTA in November 2013 and then wrote the SAICA board exam in January 2014. The results of the board exam were released on Friday 28 March and, praise God, I was successful in this exam. One more exam to go in order to achieve my dream!

My story in summary is as follows: I don’t know of anyone who has attempted CTA twice, passed it on the second attempt, failed the board exam five times, went back to CTA and failed it, re-registered again in the following year and then passed, wrote the board exam and passed – besides me. And I still haven’t given up on the dream of being a chartered accountant.

The one question that has always been on my mind was: ‘How will I encourage and teach my daughter never to give up on her dreams if I give up on mine?’

It’s not really a race, it’s a journey … Delay does not mean denial!

We at SAICA offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Basia Phomane. We salute him as a leader who followed our dictum of Leaders Never Quit.

Basia Phomane will be awarded his CA(SA) certificate posthumously.