SEBOKENG.- Statistics SA’s most current Poverty Trends report reveals that almost 56% of South Africa’s children live below the poverty line.
Not only do these children suffer greatly because of their circumstances, but they are likely to endure the consequences of poverty throughout their life if there is no means of escaping it. This not only hinders their growth and wellbeing but also destroys their chances of developing into productive citizens.
Twenty four year old, Zanele Maduna from Sebokeng could have let herself become just another one of these statistics. But, with just a few months until she qualifies as a Chartered Accountant [CA (SA)], Maduna’s hard work and tenacity has helped her and her family escape the poverty cycle. Speaking of her childhood, Maduna recalls how she never had a birthday.
“Only God knows how we survived,” she says of her childhood in which she shared a two roomed RDP house in Sebokeng, with her unemployed parents and her sister.
Her ‘aha’ moment happened when she was invited to attend one of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA’s) annual provincial Development Camps.
Each year, SAICA identifies African and Coloured learners in Grade 11 and 12 from disadvantaged backgrounds who are talented in mathematics. Those selected attend provincial development camps during the winter school holidays to help prepare them academically for the last stretch of high school.
This initiative forms part of SAICA’s Thuthuka Education Upliftment Project, a pioneering initiative that provides educational support to African learners and students for the benefit of the profession, while simultaneously helping to uplift their surrounding communities.
After passing matric, Maduna qualified for SAICA’s Thuthuka Bursary Fund and was admitted to the University of the Witwatersrand to study towards becoming a CA(SA).
“Not much is expected of you where I grew up. But you know what? I don’t disown my past. That’s what made me.
“The biggest adjustment in my life was attending university. Staying in residence and enjoying a hot shower. Wow! At home I’d only ever bathed using a basin.”
She is eternally thankful to the Thuthuka Bursary Fund. “Besides covering tuition fees, we got support tutorials. As a student who did accounting for the first time at university I don’t know how I would have survived without the TBF support tutorials.”