Taxi driver graduates

2017-12-21 06:00
Mzameki Sibunzi is a highly inspired taxi driver who has just obtained a National Diploma in Accounting and is now looking forward to study further. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Mzameki Sibunzi is a highly inspired taxi driver who has just obtained a National Diploma in Accounting and is now looking forward to study further. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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A taxi driver from Mfuleni who beat all odds to become an accounting graduate hopes his story will inspire other youths from poor backgrounds.

On Wednesday, 12 December, Mzameki Sibunzi from eNgcwala village in Mthatha, donned his black gown to graduate with a National Diploma in Accounting from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Sibunzi juggled spreadsheets and taxi commuters to realise his dream of obtaining a tertiary qualification.

Sibunzi, an avid reader, said that his spark came in 2013 while he was browsing this newspaper and saw a City of Cape Town advert offering bursaries. He was fortunate to get the bursary but that is where his luck ended.

“I wasn’t accepted at CPUT in 2013 so I lost the bursary... Eish that was painful. In fact, I locked myself inside the house for almost two weeks. I went back to being a taxi driver until I saw an opportunity in August where there was an advert for bursaries at the provincial treasury department,” he said.

The bulky 29-year-old again obtained the bursary, but this time around he was accepted at CPUT.

“I was over the moon, so I studied full time and drove a taxi on weekends and holidays,” he recalled.

He said that it was very difficult to get back to being a student after he matriculated in 2007.

I came from a very poor background, where I matriculated without using a computer and I struggled at varsity.

Things had changed; for example, the income statement was now called statement of financial position, I had a lot to learn,” he remembered.

He also said that leaving his job as a driver brought him close to financial ruin as he struggled to pay his way through varsity.

“The bursary did not cover transport and food so I had to work for bus fare and food. It was so difficult that I often had to borrow from friends in the taxi industry and had to work on weekends to pay them back.

Academic work was also a challenge because after working till 20:00 I would then stay up studying until 02:00 in the morning,” he said.

He said when he came down to the Western Cape, he was full of dreams, but these were dashed by poverty.

“I arrived in Grabouw and started working as a farm labourer picking apples and earning R320 a week. I saved that money to do my driver’s license. After attaining a license, I took on a security guard’s course, and worked for a while. I even tried for a police course, but I failed, dismally ...”

The newly graduated accountant said his ultimate goal now was to study towards a masters degree.

“I want to motivate others who, just like me, come from poverty, to show them that your background doesn’t determine your future.

We need to learn and work hard to achieve what we dream of,” he said. He said he also dreams of a school fund to be put aside by the taxi industry to benefit not just drivers but the community as well. “There are many graduates who come back to the taxi industry because of unemployment but we must educate more people and change the perspective that people have on the taxi industry,” he said.

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