Zwide man beats the odds to become one of top CA trainees

2016-10-26 06:00
Sinetemba Fumbata .Photo: SUPPLIED

Sinetemba Fumbata .Photo: SUPPLIED

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DESPITE having few role models growing up, Sinetemba Fumbata is a young professional with the world at his feet.

It has taken great determination for this aspiring chartered accountant (CA) to get where he is today.

Having overcome an abusive family situation, the loss of both his parents by the time he had reached high school and the fact that his family could barely afford his R200 annual school fees, today Fumbata is one of Engen’s top CA(SA) trainees.

One of seven siblings growing up in Zwide, Fumbata never had much. “Our family could not afford the school fees although they were only about R200 a year,” he says.

His clothes were hand-me-downs. As the youngest of four brothers (one of which was in and out of prison) and three sisters, he never had any positive role models, apart from his older sister, Princess.

When speaking of his early childhood, Fumbata says his favourite part of the day was when his mom would return home from work. But this ended when he was five and his mom had a stroke. Everything changed in an instant. His father became an alcoholic and was abusive.

It was then that Princess (25) stepped in to fill the gap. “She played an important part in my upbringing,” he says. “She went out to work as a domestic helper.”

Fumbata went to live with Princess and her husband for two years. This, however, was short-lived and the siblings returned to their family home when his sister separated from her husband. “Princess came home as the mother figure and the breadwinner,” says Fumbata. She raised Fumbata (from the age of 7) and his 16-year-old sister, who was the only other remaining sibling at home.

Despite losing both his parents by the time he reached high school, Fumbata excelled at school. So it was no surprise that his Grade 9 mathematics and accounting teachers encouraged him to pursue a career as a chartered accountant .

“This was before I had heard of the profession,” he reflects. Intrigued, Fumbata sought to achieve this goal and so “I practised mathematics and accounting after school, using old examination and test papers.”

In Grade 12, Fumbata attended extra maths classes provided by Deloitte and tutored his classmates to get a deeper understanding of the subject. It was during the same year that he was approached by the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Thuthuka Bursary Fund – a bursary that supports talented African and Coloured SA learners who excel in mathematics in their pursuit to study towards becoming CAs(SA).

“To my surprise the Thuthuka Bursary was fully funded. It covered books, tuition, a food allowance and pocket money which I would normally send back home,” says Fumbata. He completed his BCom Accounting degree at NMMU.

Today, Fumbata is doing his CA(SA) traineeship at Engen in Cape Town, where he is one of the two top trainees at the firm.

He believes that there are people going through much worse situations than he experienced. “I believe that programmes like Thuthuka are there to bridge that gap in society. Sometimes it’s not about the height which a person has risen to, but rather the depths from which we rise.”

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