Change the world

Alumnus rises from adversity to achievement

Bongani Trevor Malala, a BA’21 alumnus of Nelson Mandela University, is a shining example of the power of determination and hard work. Born and raised in the vibrant Matsulu Township of the Mpumalanga Province in South Africa, Bongani's life story is one of resilience and triumph over adversity. His journey to success has been nothing short of remarkable, and it serves as an inspiration to many aspiring students and professionals.

Bongani's early years were profoundly shaped by the influence of his grandparents, who became his caregivers after the untimely passing of his father when he was just two years old. From a young age, he was instilled with the values of hard work, perseverance, and the importance of education. These values would become the pillars of his life's journey and guide him to achieve excellence.

During his high school years, Bongani actively engaged in extracurricular activities, which played a pivotal role in shaping his interests and passions. He served as the chairperson of the high school debate society, an experience that ignited his love for public speaking. His dedication and talent led him to become one of the best speakers in the entire province during the 2015 road safety debates. In 2016, he was honored to be elected as the Chairperson of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL). This commitment to leadership and excellence culminated in him achieving six distinctions in his Matric exams, including a perfect score of 100% in accounting.

Bongani's academic achievements did not go unnoticed, and he received several awards for being the Best Learner in Accounting, English, Economics, and Life Orientation in his Circuit. The Sasol Group recognized his dedication and awarded him for being the top learner in Accounting in the entire province. These accolades provided the stepping stones for his educational and professional journey.

Currently, Bongani works as a Chartered Accountancy (CA) Trainee at Pick n Pay Retailers in Cape Town. His role involves a rotation through various divisions within the organization, offering him a well-rounded understanding of the business. His diverse experiences range from working with the Internal Audit department to serving as a Data Analyst Trainee in New Product Development and collaborating with the GNFR (Procurement department). Currently, he contributes to the financial health and reporting of the company as part of the Retail Financial Reporting team.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Bongani is deeply committed to giving back to the community and empowering others. In his spare time, he actively engages in mentorship programs aimed at assisting young individuals who face financial constraints in pursuing higher education. These initiatives are close to his heart, as he understands the challenges of limited financial resources and wants to make a positive impact on the lives of young students who share his journey.

Looking to the future, Bongani has ambitious goals. Over the next five years, he aims to complete his Chartered Accountancy qualification and gain more experience in the financial and business world. He aspires to take on a leadership role within the finance department of a reputable organization, where he can contribute to its growth and success. Additionally, he is passionate about furthering his involvement in community projects and supporting educational initiatives.

What drives Bongani each day is the memory of his grandparents, who sacrificed so much to provide him with opportunities for a better future. Their values of hard work, determination, and education continue to motivate him to strive for excellence in all that he does. He is also driven by the desire to set an example for young people who face challenges similar to those he overcame. Bongani wants to show them that with determination and dedication, they can achieve their dreams.

Bongani's experience at Nelson Mandela University was transformative, and he credits the university for providing him with the skills and knowledge that set him on his current path towards becoming a Chartered Accountant. The university's commitment to providing quality education and its focus on holistic development had a profound impact on his personal and professional growth.

In closing, Bongani has a powerful message to share with alumni and aspiring students: Never underestimate the power of determination and hard work. Your background or financial circumstances should not limit your dreams and aspirations. Bongani stands as a testament to what is possible with resilience, education, and a supportive community. He encourages everyone to keep pursuing their goals with unwavering dedication and always remember to give back to the community. Together, we can make a positive impact on the world, just as Bongani Trevor Malala continues to do through his remarkable journey of resilience and dedication.