In the rural schools of Limpopo, a career in accounting is as remote as becoming an astronaut or pilot. These are seen as careers for the elite from the big cities.
The reason is simple: there are very few accountants in these villages, and where they do exist, they are regarded with reverence.
To demystify the accounting profession, SA Institute of Business Accountants (Saiba) partnered with Simunye Awakening Foundation SAF(SA) for the very first Thovhele Mulima career exhibition which was held on the rural areas of Limpopo. Hundreds of learners from six schools in the surrounding villages attended the career exhibition at the Mulima Village sports ground on Friday, 28th of February 2020.
“Rural area students have limited information about careers these make it difficult for them to reach their career goals,” says Wendy Mutshena, membership manager at Saiba, who grew up in this area. “Because I come from this area, I wanted learners in the area to understand that accounting is a viable profession and available to anyone from any background, no matter how deprived. Kids in the rural areas do not get much in the way of career guidance, and I certainly didn’t have this opportunity growing up here. I was very proud to fly the flag for Saiba and the accounting profession, and I know we will be seeing a lot more learners from this area pursuing careers in accounting. This is something we want to make a regular annual event.”
Adds Simunye Awakening Foundation (SAF) founder Phathutshedzo Mbaimbai: “Youth development is what we strive to improve in our area. Being a rural area, it is difficult for the youth to reach information and resources for school and life in general. Our aim as SAF is to build a bridge between them and the world at large. Having grown here, we know how difficult it is to get hold of anything, even to find someone to assist you when you want to apply for tertiary college entry, being in Grade 12. We are still very small organisation, therefore very much depend on our own pockets, family and friends’ donations to make events such as this possible.”
Mutshena says the event was an outstanding success, with hundreds of learners now exposed to the variety of careers available to those pursuing studies in accounting, from bookkeeping to running your own business practice, or eventually going on to become a chief financial officer in a large organisation.
Says Nicolaas van Wyk, CEO of Saiba: “We encourage non-profit organisations such as SAF to keep on educating and empowering our youth to make this country a better place. Saiba is very very excited to have participated in this exhibition, we want to see more accounting professionals emerging from rural areas and taking this profession to greater heights.”