We draw inspiration from leaders, their words can awaken a light inside of us that motivates us to reach our full potential. Nelson Mbele captured the words of former Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi.

“When Zozi won Miss South Africa, she said we need to take up space and cement our footsteps wherever we are, and those words stuck with me to this day.”

A village boy from QwaQwa raised by a widowed mother with 9 siblings, growing up in a family principled by love and unity. Young Nelson had a solid foundation that he needed for adulthood.

“I am a last-born child, being from a big family made my childhood so amazing. My sisters were and still are my best friends. I grew up in an environment that nurtured me well.”

Academic achievements

Challenges foster growth. During his matric year, Nelson’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. This affected him but his mother assured him that she will be well, he got support from his teachers and forged ahead. He became the top achiever of his school regardless of the challenges he faced.

Common in single-headed households, Nelson could not afford to fund his university studies. Luckily, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) an aid scheme funded by South African taxpayers, gave him hope. He was able to enrol at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein.

Nelson started with a National Higher Certificate in accounting, followed by a National Diploma in auditing, B-Tech in Internal Auditing, computer auditing certificate, among others.

His university studies were not smooth sailing all the way, “I remember getting 19% for the first test during my B-Tech degree and I could not believe it. I, however, took that as a wake-up call and it never happened again. Even during presentations with my classmates, I always made sure that the group was well represented and got a good grade.”

Although Nelson was robbed of wearing the graduation regalia and going on stage to officially receive his degree due to Covid-19, he said that most of the goals he set for himself have been achieved and he takes pride in that. “I remember writing a list of goals I wanted to achieve back in grade 11, I have ticked off most things from that list and I couldn’t be prouder of myself.”

What makes you stand out from the crowd?

I can list several things:  

  • I am professional and skilled as per my academic record.
  • I have a positive attitude towards work and that sets me apart.
  • I am positive-minded towards everything I do.
  • I am a perfectionist and a workaholic.
  • I go the extra mile

As a beneficiary of the SAIBA U2Pro programme, Nelson is now on his way to earning his next goal, SAIBAs designation for accountants in practice, the BAP(SA). SAIBAs U2Pro programme was established in 2020 as a partnership with universities to bring the workplace to students. This gives students access to gaining workplace experience making them more employable. To learn more about U2Pro click here.

Nelson fully participates in U2Pro. “I constantly communicate with the facilitator during activities, to make sure that all the tasks are up to standard. The programme has, thus far, given me thorough insights into the core functions of accounting, auditing, financial management and other specialities. I have also been exposed to leadership skills, responsibility and communication skills which are and valuable in the community that we currently live in. I am thankful to be a part of this programme because I know that upon finishing, I will be a step ahead of the competition.”

An ambitious young man like Nelson is never without goals. A SAIBA BAP(SA) membership, tax license and CFO(SA) are on his list. He wants to acquire a PhD that will be aimed at the technological aspect of business management, providing cutting edge research and quality improvement in services provided in the industry.

Accounting is no longer about numbers- It is about financial decision making and prediction, analysing and providing meaningful reports that will be a game-changer not only for my business but for the industry, I want to motivate the upcoming generation and restore pride in the black community. I am a force yet to be reckoned with!