Renowned former businessman and CEO and founder of Sifiso Learning Group’s, Sizwe Nxasana, has been bestowed with the prestigious title of Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Accounting Sciences by the University of South Africa (UNISA).
This distinguished honour reflects Nxasana’s unwavering dedication to advancing the prospects of previously disadvantaged students pursuing careers in the accounting field.
The conferred honourary degree recognises Nxasana’s extraordinary contributions to the profession of Financial Accounting throughout his distinguished career. It highlights his commitment to:
- Exceptional Contribution to Financial Accounting: Nxasana’s lifelong dedication to the field of Accounting has had a profound impact on the profession, setting new standards and inspiring others.
- Financial Support for Critical Skills Qualifications: He has consistently provided financial support to students pursuing critical skills qualifications, ensuring that education remains accessible to those who need it most. This is evident in his involvement in the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme, which he founded during the height of #feesmustfall in 2016. Today, the organisation continues to fund students from the so-called ‘missing middle,’ particularly those pursuing occupations in high demand in our universities. In its 6 years of existence, ISFAP has raised more than R1.25 billion and funded almost 2,800 students.
- Economic Upliftment of Disadvantaged Sectors: Through self-initiated financial support programmes, Nxasana has actively contributed to the economic upliftment of previously disadvantaged communities, empowering them to build better futures.
- Mentoring and Promotion of Young Talent: Through his involvement in multiple foundations and trusts, particularly the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA’s) Thuthuka Bursary Nxasana has played a pivotal role in mentoring and promoting young aspiring financial executives, guiding them towards successful careers in the accounting industry.
- Advancement of Black Professionals in Accounting: Nxasana’s tireless efforts have significantly advanced the representation and influence of black professionals within the accounting profession. Notably, as a founding partner of Nkonki Sizwe Ntsaluba (now SNG Grant Thornton, the 5th largest audit firm in South Africa) in 1996 as the first black-owned national firm of accountants.
- Lifelong Commitment to Education: His enduring commitment to opening doors for young financial professionals has left an indelible mark on the education landscape. Nxasana is the chair of the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), which he started with Minister Angie Motshekga, Dr Godwin Khosa, teacher unions, organised business and a few others ten years ago. With the support of thousands of supporters, the NECT has made a significant contribution in curriculum reform, teacher training and development and learning and teaching in over 19,000 of the 25,000 schools in our country.
In response to this esteemed recognition, Nxasana expressed his gratitude and shared his motivations: “When I retired from corporate life, I decided to choose a different path from sitting on corporate boards. I decided to dedicate this chapter of my life to contributing to finding solutions to improving the quality of education in our country. If you are trying to solve the problem, it is important to feel what it is like and experience the system you are trying to improve and change. And so, that is exactly what I did. I am humbled and eternally grateful to my team at Sifiso Learning Group and Future Nation Schools under the leadership of Mrs. Mampho Langa. You have all taught me so much about education and the complexity of improving learning outcomes and creating better futures for our students.”
Nxasana’s honourary doctorate serves as a testament to his remarkable contributions to the education sector and his unyielding commitment to the betterment of society through knowledge and mentorship. It reflects his deep-rooted belief in the transformative power of education and his ongoing efforts to make quality education accessible to all.