Qualified KZN accountant leaves his gardening days behind

2016-02-02 11:28
Bongani Mtolo, 26, with Calvin Mathibeli, chairperson of the Calvin and Family Group in Umhlanga. (Supplied to News24)

Bongani Mtolo, 26, with Calvin Mathibeli, chairperson of the Calvin and Family Group in Umhlanga. (Supplied to News24)

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Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal accountant who became a gardener because he could not find a proper job, has been employed.

Bongani Mtolo's employer, Luyanda Sikhakhane, 30, from Sea View, Durban, said she was thrilled that he had accepted a job as bookkeeper at Calvin and Family Group in Umhlanga.

- Read more: Accountant becomes gardener because he can't find work

Sikhakhane made it her mission to find Mtolo a permanent job after she learned that he was a qualified accountant. She met the 26-year-old during a trip to the shops late last year.

One Saturday, she had prepared lunch for Mtolo and he joined her and her brother Siyabonga at the dining room table. Siyabonga was struggling with his accounting homework and Mtolo offered to help.

She was shocked when she realised he had knowledge of the subject and that he was a qualified accountant. He completed his accounting degree in 2011 and a B.Tech in 2013. He started applying for jobs, without success. He turned to doing part-time jobs like gardening, painting, and welding and made between R70 and R100 on a good day.

She posted the story on her Facebook page, hoping someone would take notice.

On Thursday last week, Mtolo received a call from Calvin Mathibeli, chairperson of Calvin and Family Group in Umhlanga, who offered him a job.

“He put aside his degree and his pride and became a gardener. That is something very difficult to do, especially when you are young. He could have chosen a life of criminality but he didn’t,” Mathibeli said.

High hopes

Mathibeli, originally from the Free State and himself a former gardener, said he could relate to Mtolo’s story.

“I became independent at the age of 13. I did not know my father and my mother, Gertrude, sewed for a living. I had to become a gardener, cutting people’s grass to get money for uniform so that I could look like other children.”

He said although his mother was able to pay his school fees, he had to contribute significantly towards his upbringing. He came to Durban to study accounting. In his second year he registered the Calvin and Family Group, a company that fixed cellphones.

The small company paid his tuition fees and accommodation and helped him get by. When he graduated, the company expanded into property developing, printing, engineering, and private security. He currently employs 120 people.

He said Mtolo would start off as a bookkeeper and work his way up to become the company’s chief accounting officer.

“I am looking forward to grooming him and making sure that he succeeds,” said Mathibeli.


Sikhakhane was thrilled for Mtolo and hoped he would use his success to help others.

“I just hope that he will always remember where he comes from. No matter how much he succeeds, he must remember the humble beginning.

“That’s what ubuntu is about. We always say that we are who we are because of others.”

Mtolo was excited to start his new job next Monday and expressed his gratitude to Sikhakhane and Mathibeli. He promised to work hard and live up to their expectations.

Read more on:    durban  |  good news

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