Hunting for would-be CAs

2014-05-11 15:00

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Sindisa Dunga (32) has been on the campaign trail.

But the young man from Mthokwana village in Willowvale, Eastern Cape, has not been canvassing for votes; he’s trying to get young people like him interested in accounting.

Dunga, a senior finance manager at Sanlam, is a chartered accountant (CA) – as far as he knows, the only registered CA to come from Willowvale.

He was 24 when he qualified in 2005 and now wants to give back to the community – and communities like it – that produced him.

So he’s set up the Sindisa Dunga Foundation and, working with Sanlam, the SA Actuaries Development Programme, Big Break Legacy, Vodacom, PwC, the Office of the Auditor-General (AG) and the National Youth Development Agency, he’s crisscrossing Eastern Cape to teach pupils about their possible career options.

He recently distributed more than 1?000 maths, science and accounting study guides to schools in Willowvale, Centane, Nqgamakhwe, Dutywa, Butterworth and Mthatha.

One of the schools that benefited was his former high school, Umtata Technical College, one of many disadvantaged schools in Mthatha.

As part of his foundation’s work, Dunga visited schools with friends and colleagues from different working backgrounds to run career guidance workshops.

Dunga has also handed out more than 500 scientific calculators in 33?schools.

He was in matric and had been studying accounting for five years when he got his own calculator.

“What people don’t know is that the very first time I ever heard of chartered accounting as a career was in a career guidance workshop in my matric year,” he said.

The fifth of six children raised by a single mother in Willowvale, Dunga was inspired by the country’s first black CA, Wiseman Nkhulu.

He hit problems early on. He couldn’t afford to pay tuition fees at the then University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University). But then one of his sisters got married and his mother, Nophethile, insisted her lobola be used for Dunga’s registration fees.

The investment paid off. Dunga has worked for Liberty, Absa and Transnet, and in government for the AG.

The married father of five still remembers sometimes walking 5km to school on an empty stomach. “I give to others because someone else gave to me. If it wasn’t for all the people who extended their hand to me, I doubt I would be the person I am today,” he said

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