Though she chose maths and science as her high school subjects, Transkei-born but Bloemfontein-raised Banele Ndarala soon knew that was not the field for her, and she was destined instead to become “something big in business one day”.
Ndarala, 22, completed her diploma in Human Resource Management at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) last year, and was mentally preparing herself to join the job market, when a long-term dream came true. She received a R15 000 Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) bursary, which has enabled her to register for an additional year of study, which will effectively convert her diploma to a BTech degree.
“If it hadn’t been for the BWA bursary, I wouldn’t have been able to register this year,” she said.
“It was so important for me to get a degree qualification. It will mean that I am not limited to entry-level positions when I enter the job market … This bursary means I am able to advance my qualification – to take a step forward – allowing me to be closer to what I want to be.”
Though she is not the first in her family to pursue tertiary studies, she will be the first to attain a degree.
Looking to the future, she hopes to pursue further postgraduate courses in Business Administration. “I definitely see myself in the corporate world – that’s where I’ll be able to flourish.”
Ndarala said her “secret to success” was inspired by a speech NMMU Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz had given, when she was in first year. “He said in order to make it in your studies, you have to align yourself with smart people. If I align myself with like minded people, who have the same drive to do what I’m doing, it motivates me and this becomes my driving force.”
She said another significant factor in her journey to success had been her awareness of the sacrifices others had made for her, not least her mother Nondumiso Ndarala, a Magistrate’s Court clerk, who had contributed towards her financial needs. “So many people have been involved in my success.”
And now BWA is one of them.
Michelle Brown, who chairs BWA’s Port Elizabeth branch, said: “We are very proud of our latest bursary recipient, Banele. Not only did she obtain a number of distinctions in her undergraduate studies, but she also fulfilled various leadership roles.
“As Prof Swartz said: ‘Align with like-minded people’ – and we trust that Banele feels this way about BWA! She is determined to succeed – and we are looking forward to watching her grow into a great South African businesswoman.”
The Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) awards bursaries to deserving postgraduate students pursuing business-related studies, across South Africa. For more information, go to: www.bwasa.co.za/burseries
Author: Lize Hayward
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