Alumni Magazine Edition 6

imparting financial education while simultaneously learning farming skills. What makes Makoku stand out from the pack, he believes, is his background as a village boy and often having to dig deep for inspiration. He adds that he owes it to himself and the village to be true to himself, as he considers himself an export of the region. “I can’t afford to let them down.” Makoku’s love for his home region is reflected in his plans for the future, as he envisages himself returning home to plough back all that he has learnt in the world to help improve the lives of his people. He also wants to play more of an active role in advancing the economic participation of African farmers and impact the value chain more as “we are central to the food security of our people and this country”. Makoku is a numbers man whose heart is very much with the people and the community that shaped his upbringing and life focus.

the village child that it’s possible.”

Makoku decided he wanted to go to university when he was in Grade 9 when the time to select subjects for the rest of his schooling arrived. He chose subjects that would later give him options between science, engineering, technology and commerce-related fields.

Dr Stella Bvuma : Newly appointed Board Member of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA)

“I fell deeper in love with Accounting in Grade 11.”

As a result, he studied a BCom in Accounting, which he completed in 2011, and followed that with a BCom Honours (Specialisation in Chartered Accountancy), completed in 2014. Among Makoku’s highlights are being retained as a manager at Deloitte after his articles, secondment to Deloitte Dallas in Texas in 2018 and then being one of the youngest Premier Soccer League club executives and representing Bidvest Wits Football Club on the board of governors. This, he says, was followed by acquiring his first batch of cattle. His passion for combining farming and numbers started after university when he was

Dr Stella Bvuma was born and bred in Limpopo province and is currently the Head of the Department of Applied Information Systems at the University of Johannesburg. Once a student in the same department where she is now Head, she describes herself as courageous, bold, yet a leader with a servant heart and agility. Dr Bvuma was born and raised in both townships and villages in the scenic Limpopo province. She completed her primary schooling in Namakgale township and High School at Lapato M High School, in a rural area just a few kilometres outside Namakgale. Growing up, she never dreamt about going into IT or taking on an academic role, but rather wanted a so-called ordinary career that was familiar, such as being a teacher or a nurse. Then she received a book as a gift from a popular Radio DJ at Thobela FM (Paul Rapetswa) Introduction to Information Technology.

“I then started asking questions about this IT thing, I had never heard of it.” Regardless of what Dr Bvuma wanted to study, a university education was a given as her parents were very insistent about furthering education and furthering studies. “Although they didn’t have much, they always pointed out ‘complete your matric and choose any institution you want to go to further your studies’, so one knew that going to varsity was not an option, but a must.” Her story really started when she went to university, where she started tutoring in her final year. “I volunteered to provide tutorials to a group of first-years who struggled with their studies. I, too, struggled with the same module but on a third-year level.” This meant balancing her own studies with her volunteering, which brought her to the attention of the Head of Department, which led to a paid post and, eventually,

after she climbed the academic ranks, Head of Department. “Academia found me. I never looked for it and I fell in love with most of it.” Dr Bvuma now has a slew of letters behind her name, including an ND IT, BTech IT, Masters IT, and a PhD in IT Management, accomplished this year, among others. The highlights of all this studying are, as she says, too many to mention, along with setbacks and challenges. However, she celebrates both achievements and setbacks as they have “crafted the courageous woman I am becoming daily”. In terms of role models, she counts Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela among the women who have inspired her because of the role she played in shaping the future of our country, South Africa, and her ability to be defiant and fearless. “Another political activist that I resonate well with is Mama Albertina Sisulu. Her generosity to take care of others and even

extended families, her appreciation for education and how she took it upon herself to educate others.” Dr Bvuma also admires another academic, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, who started her education under a tree and became the first black woman in South Africa to obtain a PhD in Maths Education in 2002. Fellow alumni, women who surround her, and classmates during TWR studies also inspire Dr Bvuma, who is gratified by what they have become. A true leader, she believes that leadership is about service. “Leadership is not a title I am given, but the responsibility that comes with it. It actually meant serving.” That, however, does not mean that Dr Bvuma is done learning. She believes that there is a dire need for lifelong learning to enable individuals to access learning opportunities – in different ways, for different purposes and at various career stages.




Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs