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UKZN lecturer a finalist in SAICA competition

Auditing lecturer and researcher Hlengiwe Ndlela (32) has been selected as a finalist in the Top 35 Under Thirty5, a competition run annually by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

Ndlela works at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's (UKZN's) School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, in the College of Law and Management Studies. She is among a group of outstanding chartered accountants (CAs) participating in the competition who boast exceptional achievements and are actively working to bring about positive change in their communities.

Ndlela is also an executive member of African Women Chartered Accountants (an organisation committed to accelerating the advancement of qualified and aspiring African women CAs) in the KwaZulu-Natal region. Her day job involves serving as programme manager for the Thuthuka Bursary Fund at UKZN and holding down a full-time position as a lecturer. However, she still finds time to mentor high school learners, excel as a mother and work on her PhD.

Ndlela is passionate about supporting youth development through education and mentorship. To this end, she serves as chairperson and CEO of 1Woman1Girl, a mentorship programme for schoolgirls that entails her running Grade 9 career day workshops for over 900 learners and collecting donations of sanitary towels for primary school pupils in a drive to "keep the girl-child in school". It is based in Inanda, north of Durban.

For Ndlela, becoming a CA(SA) and an academic involved perseverance on her part, and putting in the hard work to reach her goals.

"Being selected as one of the Top 35 in SA gives me a stamp of approval. It's also a reminder for all kids anywhere in SA, growing up in dire circumstances, that it does not matter where you come from or how you were raised; what matters is your determination, perseverance and desire for success," said Ndlela.

"My formula for success is not to get comfortable, but rather to keep developing and learning, to be engaged always and, most importantly, to keep a fair amount of challenges in my day-to-day tasks. Success is not an event at a point in time, but a continuous process of growth, with milestones and/or learning achieved along the way."

Judging for SAICA's Top 35 Under Thirty5 competition is under way. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony in Johannesburg on 3 October 2019.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga