UJ’s accounting trailblazer: A passionate advocate for Financial Literacy

Boniswa Madikizela

A passion for teaching, and in particular efforts that improve the lives of individuals for the better, led the Department of Accountancy’s Boniswa Madikizela to her research area of interest: financial literacy education. For Boniswa, in the South African context and the higher education industry, that means empowering first-generation university students.

“Since attaining my master’s qualification in 2017, I have advocated for financial literacy to be viewed as a critical life skill for individuals, a skill necessary to empower individuals into taking action in improving their financial wellbeing,” she says.

She uses every tool available to her to drive this cause, with accounting as the catalyst through which she fulfils her purpose.

“The application of accounting concepts into personal life, for instance, the ability to draw a personal balance sheet and gaining the knowledge and understanding of how to make it grow and make it beneficial throughout one’s life, should be incorporated in accountancy curriculums.”

A senior lecturer in accounting and full academic member of the University of Johannesburg’s Council, Boniswa believes that courage and curiosity are vital to success. “Your bravery has to be bigger than your fear,” she says.

In August 2021, Boniswa walked away with top honours, the Trailblazer in Academia Award, at the African Women Chartered Accountants virtual recognition awards. The award recognises aspiring chartered accountants who are trailblazing their way to making a real and tangible impact on society. Boniswa was honoured for her continuous passion and innovation in accounting education.

The award confirmed that her efforts to make a difference through accounting and positively influence the lives of the many students crossing her path had not been in vain.

“When I left the corporate world a decade ago, all I knew to be true was that I wanted to use my CA(SA) skills to make a difference. As I reflect on my years, I’m grateful to God Almighty for such a magical journey. I honestly cannot ask for a better experience. The various engagements with the many accounting students allowed me to be a life coach, a cheerleader, a disciplinarian, a nurturer and the opportunity to make a positive impression on their lives. It confirms my passion for creating a financially literate and inclusive society from a perspective of personal finances using the accounting principles taught in our degrees. I trust that the seeds I’ve been planting are bearing fruit and that I created lasting footprints, a pathway on the map for others to be inspired and follow.”

 Boniswa attained a BCom Honours and CTA at UJ in 2002.

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