I am Khanyisile Gumede ,23 years old, a recent Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting Cum Laude graduate from the University of Johannesburg. I was fortunate to get exposed to different learning environments as my education journey began in Limpopo at Sereme Combined School(grade 1-6), then continued to Gauteng at Westonaria Primary School, Hoërskool Westonaria(grade7-9) and finally back in Limpopo at St. Thomas College(Grade 10-12) which is where I matriculated from.
I have so much respect for our teachers because I believe that without them, we would not be able to dream and aim higher in our lives. My primary and high school teachers played a huge impact in where I am today. The confidence that they instilled in me and their words of encouragement are the ones that I still live by until this day. As a self-driven, hard-working and motivated individual I never encountered any academic challenges as I always strived to excel in my studies. In Grade 11 I met Mr Marwa (my former accounting teacher) and he made me fall in love with Accounting and he would always say in class, “Khanyisile, you must go to Stellenbosch University to study Accounting” as he saw that I was his top Accounting student and I would think wow this man really sees something in me.
I then did my research into what this accounting was all about. My results were fascinating as I found out that I could become a Chartered Accountant and eventually open my own firm and I was in love with it. Part of that research included me finding out which university was the best in the field of Accounting and it was the University of Johannesburg as it produced the best Initial Test of Compliance(ITC) results of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants(SAICA) and I wanted nothing more than to go and study there.
Life then happened after I matriculated in 2015 as I was one of the unfortunate children when it comes to finances to further my studies. I persistently applied for bursaries and grants in 2015 but I was unlucky since all of them kept on rejecting me. I was then forced to take a 2-year gap but because I know myself and the background at home I persevered and applied for more bursaries between 2016 and 2017.
Towards the end of 2017,God then opened those doors for me. I received an invite from the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme(ISFAP) at the University of Johannesburg to apply for their bursary for the ensuing year and so I applied. The process was not tedious, as it was short and easily accessible. 2018 was a breakthrough year for me because I will never forget the day I received an unknown call informing me that I had been accepted by ISFAP which in my case was sponsored by the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority(FASSET). I knew from there onwards that greater things were to follow.
ISFAP supported me financially(e.g. tuition fees), academically(e.g. extra classes). It also ensured that my mental state was okay through the check in tool that we were required to complete every semester where we could state all of the issues that we were faced with financially, academically and at home that might have affected our wellbeing and led us to underperform.
I do not think that I would have made it to the UJ First Year Top Achievers Awards in 2018,become a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and cum laude my degree, if it was not for ISFAP. All the support that I was receiving from ISFAP enabled me to focus only on my studies because I had everything that a student needs to pass e.g. a laptop, textbooks, stationery, food, accommodation, etc.
I believe that if you are mentally fit then you can conquer anything, and I am a living testimony of that because the transition from high school to University was quite daunting due to being isolated from family and having to adapt to a new environment. I had to master my time management and self-discipline skills as the amount of work that I had to complete within a short period of time was a lot compared to high school. My teachers were no longer there to remind me every day that I had a test to study for or an assignment to complete but because I had ISFAP all of that stress was eased.
By God’s grace I managed to secure myself an internship so the journey continues. I will be able to fund and continue with my studies, to meet my long-term goal of becoming a CA(SA), because I believe that there is no ending to education especially in these evolving times.