Interviewer: Morné du Toit, COO, ISFAP
Interviewee: Bakang Diphoko, BCom Accounting graduate (UJ) and ISFAP Alumnus
1. Good morning Bakang! Tell us more about yourself and your family.
My name is Bakang Diphoko and I am a 21-year old young man that was born in Mafikeng in the North West Province. I started school at Laerskool Mareetsane where I stayed as a boarder. I later went to Pinnacle Primary and Secondary Boarding School and I finished off my schooling career at HTS Potchefstroom. I come from a family of 4, both my parents are teachers and my sister is doing her SAIPA articles.
2. When did you start dreaming of going to University?
It was in grade 6 when I was the DUX learner at Pinnacle Primary. That's when I became more ambitious because we were not awarded for academic performance at Laerskool Mareetsane.
3. Tell us about your performance at school, favourite subject/s, teacher/s that made a huge impact, other activities outside of academics.
My favourite subjects were Afrikaans and Accounting because I did well in those subjects. I fell in love with numbers in grade 7 because our soccer coach was also our Mathematics teacher, but the love for numbers was diverted to Accounting as soon as I was fully exposed to Accounting. So basically the fact that I had a good relationship with my soccer coach is the reason why I studied BCom Accounting.
4. Why did you choose to study Accountancy? Why at UJ?
Our Accounting teacher's passion for what she did is one of the reasons why I chose BCom Accounting. My sister also did the same course at NWU and the stories she told me about the field were very interesting, which also influenced my decision. I went to UJ because I wanted to also pursue a career in professional football. Opportunities in North West are limited, and since they aren't in Johannesburg, I chose UJ.
5. How did you hear about ISFAP?
I received a SMS in my matric year (2017) which instructed me to apply for ISFAP using my UJ student number.
6. How did you apply? How was the process?
The SMS I received in matric had a link and I applied online. In our first-year seminar (2018) we were told to go to the Coordinator's office and that's when he told me that my application was received.
7. How did you feel when you heard you were accepted?
I was very happy because my sister didn't have a bursary, so the load on my parents was going to be too much.
8. How was the transition from school to University? What were the challenges?
It wasn't just smooth sailing but staying at an on-campus residence made things better. We had seniors who guided us and we were also assigned Residence Academic Advisors who helped us. The challenge was that I had not chosen the commerce stream in high school, so I was exposed to new things.
9. What specific type of challenges and demands did you face along the way and the key aspects that have made a difference to your growth and coping mechanisms?
Time management was a challenge and picking myself up after failing dismally for the first time ever was not easy.
10. How has the support / systems / processes been since you started studying up to finishing?
Support at our residence was just amazing. Brotherhood was what we believed in and that led to the support. ISFAP also provided us with mentors and they supported us too. We met frequently in order for that to happen.
11. Tell us some other interesting things about varsity. Maybe other activities, challenges etc?
I was in a lot of activities merely because it was easy for me to get along people since I went to boarding school at grade 1 and met different characters/personalities. I played soccer, hockey for my residence and went on to play for the University soccer team. I was also involved in Community service and ran for various leadership positions (SRC in 2020).
12. What are you doing now?
I am currently looking for an internship and will be enrolling with Unisa for my Honours.
13. What are your dreams for the future?
All I want next to my name is (CGMA).
14. Anything else you would like to add?
I am forever thankful to ISFAP, and in particular to the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (FASSET) as the funder, for the support in terms of their generous funding and wraparound support that they provided to me. It truly made the world of difference to me and my family and set me up for a bright future.
Answers written by Bakang Diphoko
Edited by Morné du Toit