Growing up in the dusty streets of Limpopo Matome Moholola could not think beyond the prevailing circumstances: inadequate schooling, infrastructure, and limited career choices. But in a Grade 7 accounting class this all changed. He tells us his story

Though our teacher then had a vague idea of the chartered accountancy profession, I purposed in my heart to become a CA(SA) one day.

Matriculating without maths was the first stumbling block to remove on my way to becoming a CA(SA). Owing to financial constraints (my mom is a cleaner and my dad a driver at a local clinic) my only option was to enrol at the University of Venda (Univen). However, Univen refused to admit me to the BCom Accounting degree and registered me for a BCom Business Management. During the course of the year I discovered my degree had the same courses as BCom Accounting except for Maths 101, which was a semester course. I enrolled for Maths 101 immediately and ensured I passed my accounting very well. As you would predict, I switched to BCom Accounting in my second year and was on my way to becoming a CA(SA). Owing to circumstances beyond my control, I unfortunately ended up repeating my third year.

Univen was not SAICA accredited at the time, which meant I could not do CTA right away. I needed to do a bridging course. I went to Wits but was told I would need to enrol for the BAcc degree, which meant I had to be part of the third-year class as the degree is a four-year programme. Thus I was in a third-year class three times!

Qualifying as a CA(SA) was a defining moment, especially considering the humble beginnings without maths. I can boldly say I am one of the few accountants (if any) who did not pass maths in matric. In order to keep developing myself, I pursued and attained MCom (Taxation) at the University of Pretoria in 2010. My latest achievement is being conferred a Global Executive MBA from Georgetown University (USA) and Esade Business School (Spain) on 31 July 2016. This was a momentous occasion.

In all of these, I have learnt that your background should not determine your future. If you persist hard and long enough, you will certainly attain your dreams!

AUTHOR |Matome Moholola CA(SA), BCom, BCAcc, MCom (Taxation), Global Executive MBA, is senior finance manager at ATNS