Tebogo Mphahlele has always been academically inclined.
In her Matric year, she had the opportunity to work at one of the big four accounting firms.
“I went there wanting to expose myself to what is available. When I reflected, there were so many people in c-suite positions who didn’t look like me. I decided then that I wanted to add on to the number of black females who can sit in the c-suites of these big companies.”
For the aspiring Chartered Accountant (CA), being able to climb up the ladder is a chance for her to break the glass ceiling for others who will come after her.
She is one step closer to that goal since her recent graduation with a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
The 21-year-old go-getter founded the Lead Young SA foundation when she was just 16-years-old.
“It’s aimed at bridging the gap between young people living in townships and those living in more affluent areas.
I grew up in Daveyton in the East Rand and growing up I realised we all have so much potential but because of a lack of resources and funding, the journey to success can be a lot harder. Through the foundation, I partnered with Deloitte during my second year of studies and we went back to my high school to give them much needed information about the CA profession,” she said.
Mphahlele is also the founder of Women Network Africa, a platform for women empowerment to help grow careers through networking.
“In university, women do so well passing cum laude but in the workplace those numbers are not being reflected. More males head the c-suites. The aim of Women Network Africa is to create that network for women. It’s not just building your corporate career but also making a space for service providers to come together.”
As an aspiring CA, the Network has also helped her find mentors. Academic work is something Mphahlele believes is important but she also feels students should allow themselves to invest in their hobbies as well.
“Do things that fuel you. If you’re a student and need to take a break, do it. I spend my break time doing my admin work for my foundations and preparing for any events. I prioritise what is important at the time. It’s the in-between time that you need to do things that set your heart on fire. When you do things you love, you will always find the time to do them.”
Mphahlele holds the current title of Miss Mamelodi Sundowns and is using the platform to inform others. One of those ways is through financial literacy which she does as a course curator at PocketFin South Africa.
She is looking forward to growing her career while deciding on which avenue of accountancy to take on.
“The career opens so many doors for you to figure out what to do with it. I am excited for the future.”
The Autumn graduation ceremonies are taking place until 17 May at the Soweto Campus Imbizo arena.