For Bonginkosi Zwane, making a difference is a way of life

By SAIPA (the South African Institute of Professional Accountants)

“I believe in doing good, wherever you can and however you can.” This is the philosophy of KZN-born academic and activist Bonginkosi Zwane. Just recently, Bonginkosi has achieved a milestone that has been a lifetime in the making – graduating with his PhD.

Originally from Pietermaritzburg, Bonginkosi is no stranger to hard work, having gotten his first job as a teenager at a local petrol station. “I come from a very poor area and when I arrived at university, I was introduced to the writings of Robert Sobukwe, from then on, I found myself interested in community activism that is aimed at uplifting the marginalized, particularly in African communities.” Fast forward to today, he is an accounting lecturer at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), having taught there since 2006.

Bonginkosi has always been interested in community service, seeing himself as both an activist and a community builder. When an opportunity was presented for him to lecture young people, he took it with both hands, believing that education is a tool to positively impact people’s lives, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds. Bonginkosi has also taken this desire to empower young people outside of the lecture hall.

He has been a facilitator for the Project Achiever programme, created by the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), since its inception in 2015. At the time, SAIPA was looking for someone to facilitate the taxation and management accounting sessions, which aligned perfectly with his expertise.

For Bonginkosi, this programme has been making a contribution in developing and preparing young minds to not only become Professional Accountants (SA), but also to be ready for the world of work. The programme aims to equip students with the capability to use their knowledge to better organisations and wider society. “We are hopefully creating a cohort of Professional Accountants (SA) who are critical thinkers and who will do their part in building communities and societies,” he adds.

Looking ahead, Bonginkosi aims to continue making a difference in the lives of young people, especially aspiring accountants, through his work as an academic and facilitator for Project Achiever. He has hopes of further diversifying the profession, encouraging more black people and women to pursue this career path.

“I think everybody has the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of others and we have a duty to live up to this potential,” he concludes.