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PROFILE: Equipping exceptional young leaders

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Project Siyakhula is a Deloitte-sponsored initiative that invests time to mentor and motivate students. It tutors Mathematics and Accounting to Grade 10, 11 and 12 learners from schools in Ivory Park. The word Siyakhula is derived from the isiZulu word meaning ‘we are growing’ and, boy oh boy, has it grown! Veryl Mulder interviewed three top achievers pursuing a career as a CA(SA)

The learners are bussed to Wendywood High School in Woodmead twice a month on a Saturday. Trainees, managers and partners from Deloitte tutor and mentor the learners throughout the year. A block week is held in October each year where the learners are bussed in every day for a week to assist them in preparing for their matric final exams. A career day is also held once a year and various professionals come to talk to the students and share their life stories. The Accountancy departments at UJ and Wits also join on the day. Nthato Selebi from SAICA will also explain to the students how the Thuthuka Bursary Fund works and place emphasises the importance and meaning of work hard.

The initiative currently has 120 students on the programme. Project Siyakhula has partnered with SAICA and the Gauteng Department of Education.

What is happening in 2017?

Project Siyakhula had a registration and career day in early February and intend to have a university application assistance day later this year.

We hope that next year this time we will have even more success stories from our students! To all of our readers – get involved and make a difference in the lives of young people. It is so rewarding and the key to living not only a successful life but a significant one, too.

Read three amazing success stories of Project Siyakhula’s students and 2016 matrics …

SILIZIWE NKALITSHANA (AKA LIZZY)

My story: I didn’t grow up living with both my parents, just with my mom, but they both had one goal for me, to study and pass.

My dream: My dream is to become a seasoned traveller. I want to travel anywhere and everywhere with my best friend. I’d like to become a qualified CA(SA) before any of that happens, though.

My role model: My role model has to be my aunt, Tembie. She studied at NMMU and at age 21, she was already a qualified pharmacist.

My chosen career path: CA(SA)

Number of distinctions: 6

Bursar: Oppenheimers

University: UCT

Thoughts on Project Siyakhula: Project Siyakhula was honestly amazing. Not only were the lessons productive, fun and interactive – the insight from tutors about the real corporate world was interesting as well.

The material for both Maths and Accounting helped a lot as well. Some questions were actually repeated in the exams or asked in similar ways.

TSHEPO KOMANE

My story: My journey began twelve years back in primary school. High school was the real challenge because it helped me to realise my potential. It was not an easy journey but worth it in the end. I’ve grown academically and socially through schooling, and a new challenge awaits me. I believe that it will help me to reach my full potential through tertiary education. I wouldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for the support I got from my parents, teachers and friends, and for that I am extremely grateful. I feel I am now ready to tackle the world and come out successful in the end and I am hoping to change the world and make it a better place for everyone. I was actually born in Limpopo, but my parents decided to move to Gauteng to seek better job opportunities. Both my parents got small-time jobs that didn’t pay much but was enough to put food on the table and pay the rent. I started primary school in a township called Kaalfontein. I had to walk a long distance to school every day, but that didn’t matter because I loved school very much. High school came and I was ready for it, even though my parents were struggling. I did not allow this to shift my focus because I knew that I would change the situation through schooling. High school was challenging but I was able to get through it by studying hard and remaining optimistic about the future.

My dream: My biggest dream is to start my own company, AccLaw, which would be a combination of an accounting and a law firm. My other dream is to retire at 40 and travel countrywide educating people about financial literacy so that they can learn about the importance of saving, investing and being debt free.

I will achieve my goal by introducing seminars that people can attend and creating mentorship programmes for young people out there because they are the future of this country.

My role model: I don’t have a specific role model, but I look up to anyone who is doing something productive with his or her life. I mostly look up to people who are passionate about business.

My chosen career path: CA(SA)

Number of distinctions: 1

Bursar: Mercedes-Benz

University: UCT

Thoughts on Project Siyakhula: Project Siyakhula equips learners with the skills needed to tackle examinations, and that is what makes it great. It does not only focus on academics but also on career guidance and keeping the learners motivated about their career goals. It is a great initiative because learners get all the help they need to enable them to excel in their school work, particularly in Mathematics and Accounting.

DZUNI MULAMBO

My story: I was born in Limpopo but my parents moved to Midrand shortly after my birth. I grew up with both my parents for seven years, until the end of the first grade. My mother then had to move back to Limpopo, as she worked there. My brothers and I were forced to learn to think maturely from a young age. It wasn’t easy but we had to try as my father worked long hours and sometimes would leave for several weeks on business.

My siblings and I hardly spent any time with our parents because there was neither money nor time. Our unfortunate social standing caused many of our neighbours to look down on us and call us inferior. Fortunately, after a couple of years I began to understand and accept my situation and what my neighbours and ‘friends’ said about my upbringing no longer left scars on my emotions or thoughts.

My dream: To further my studies so that I may increase my capabilities – I don’t want to work for the rest of my life for self-benefit but would like to help others realise their dreams.

My role model: My role model would be Albert Steyn, as I loved his vision, perseverance and personality from the first day we met. He said that I’m capable of achieving greatness. His positivity played a huge role in getting me where I am today, and that is the beginning of success.

My chosen career path: CA(SA)

Number of distinctions: 3

Bursar: Thuthuka

University: UCT

Thoughts on Project Siyakhula: I began attending the Deloitte Siyakhula Project in 2014 when I was in my tenth grade. The tutors’ determination, energy and passion were remarkable. During the lessons, I felt that my opinion actually counted and that I was finally being listened to. This gave me the motivation to focus on studying so that I could make the tutors proud. My attitude towards the schooling system began to change and I eventually fell in love with education.

I was in the programme for three years, and it has taught me to really focus and see all the great things that come with education.

I am really grateful for all that the project has helped me with and I cannot thank Siyakhula enough. I doubt I would obtain any distinctions if it were not for the Siyakhula Project and all the life lessons that the tutors brought to class. I am truly grateful.

A very big thank you from the Project Siyakhula Committee to Deloitte for their continuous support of such a wonderful initiative

Author: Veryl Mulder CA(SA)