It is never too late to follow your dreams and Bongi Nkosi-Sibeko BA (SA) and Tax Practitioner attests to this. Born in Kwa-Thema, Bongi was a teacher for 10 years before pursuing her accounting career. She enrolled at Vista University (now University of Pretoria) to study for a BCom Accounting in 1994, working and studying part-time. She graduated in the year 2000. Being a black woman in a newly democratic country made it difficult for her to get her articles done but, that did not stop her. She did free consultation for people in her community until five years later when she met her husband. She then bade farewell to her teaching career and her accounting career began to take shape.
She started offering her services to NGOs around Ekurhuleni, and in this way continued to harness her skills. Her husband is also an accountant, and when he saw her talent for management he asked her to take over his practice. In 2005 she graduated with a Masters in Business Ethics. She then continued her studies with the London School of Business through the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in the UK. When she returned to South Africa, Bongi started her own practice. Not only that, she also opened a private college (RSN college of Accounting and Business).
Apart from her college and practice, Bongi ventured into farming and had to learn all about animal and plant production. She now has four employees, with plans plans to upscale and upskill herself and hire more people.
She earned herself two youth development awards from the city of Ekurhuleni by offering internships and learnerships to young women, and trained them in different skills, from registering companies to SA Revenue Serviced (Sars) returns. All the youth received employment opportunities after completing the learnerships. Bongi was also national treasurer for the Black Business Chamber.
She believes in supporting other women regardless of their level of business. When asked what she does to empower fellow women she said: “I like giving back, but mostly to women. When I want to buy something, I want to buy from a woman. When I have money to give back, I first consider a woman. Women should do the same and support each other. If we learn to empower each other, we will not need men to empower us.”
This being Women’s month, Bongi emphasises the need to employ, teach and support women. She believes in teaching and equipping women to help them gain independence, strength and skills to help them succeed in whatever business they pursue.
Due to the lockdown, Bongi’s practice suffered a loss of clients. This was because some clients could not pay or afford her services. But she still thrives, keeping her employees and paying them full salaries. She is now working on ways of marketing her business and acquiring new clients. She believes in working hard and serving her clients without fail.
Why she chose Saiba
“Saiba has so many roles that it plays to us as members,” says Bongi. “One of them being that they are very informative, we get to know everything that is happening in and around us as accountants. We are always up-to-date with current affairs and changes that happen in our field, mostly during this pandemic. Even members of other bodies approach me to ask information. Having also that Covid-19 information portal has been of great assistance, it really shows that Saiba cares and supports its members wholly.”
With the determination to rise above challenges, Bongi continues to educate and upskill herself to keep up with changing times and remain relevant.
by Ludzula Mukhuwana