Passionate about problem solving, Moshal alum and accounting graduate, Asanda Mini hopes to use her financial savvy to build a life of her own, whilst empowering others.
After completing her BCom in Accounting, Asanda did a PGDA (post graduate diploma in accounting) at Rhodes university. She’s currently in her second year of articles at BDO Cape Inc in Cape Town.
In choosing a career in accounting, Asanda built on her passion for numbers. “I grew up wanting to be a doctor or nurse, but I then realised that I don’t like biology,” she laughs. “When I was in high school, I preferred numbers and that’s why I did accounting. The subject was my strength at that time, but now I realise it was the idea of solving problems and adding value in the business world that mainly drove me to pursue a career in accounting.”
“I also had a drive and passion in terms of entrepreneurship.” While she’s currently busy with her articles, Asanda has already started her first business. “I do beaded watches – I bead the straps; we sell them, and we also do one for iPhones. I’m in the business with my boyfriend. We started last year, and it hasn’t been doing too badly. Hopefully we’ll start more businesses in the future.”
A strong support system
Born and bred in Langa, Cape Town, Asanda lived with her mother and two sisters. “I grew up in a household with women,” she says. “I also have two nephews and a niece. My father was on and off in terms of being active in my life and he didn’t do much.” Asanda’s mother and sisters, however, gave her the foundation she needed to pursue her academic goals. “My family was very supportive in terms of me going to university and during my time there as well. While I’m inspired by many people, my most important inspiration remains my mother.”
Asanda’s family was also there to help her through any obstacles she encountered growing up. “Home was there for me in terms of speaking out and helping me with the challenges I faced,” she says. School also provided an important foundation. “I had the opportunity to go to a LEAP Science and Maths School. We had a life orientation class, but it wasn’t a normal class where we’d write in books and have teaching moments. Rather we’d sit in a circle and speak about different topics – for example, on Mondays we’d discuss our weekends, or we’d have a drug awareness week and so on. They were there to help out – it was a group home vibe where you could speak to people at the school.”
The need for networking
Asanda says that one of the most important tools Moshal provided was the chance to network with industry experts. “For me, the different workshops and seminars we attended were mainly about meeting the people in the panel and getting to know more about the industry. Even as part of the alumni, we still have seminars where we meet people in the working world, who help us to cope in our industries and give us other important tools. As much as I learnt a lot as a student, the learning is still ongoing in the alumni stage.”
The Moshal values of integrity and respect lend themselves to building relationships, says Asanda. “You grow up having to respect your elders and your peers, but it’s more than that. The values spoke to me about believing that wherever you go and whichever people you meet throughout your life, you must be respectful and open and honest with them to build relationships and networks. Within the Moshal Scholarship Program, you get to meet people with whom you build lifelong relationships. You meet other students, not realising that one day you’ll be helping each other out with anything and everything.”
Staying on track
Asanda was largely motivated to succeed by her need for independence. However, she’ll never forget where she came from. “When I was still studying what kept me motivated was that I wanted a life of my own and I wanted to give back to my mother and my community,” she says. “The fact that I wanted to become someone in the future also motivated me.”
The people around her also kept her going. “Having close relationships with people who encourage you to improve is important. Sometimes you don’t see yourself as being an inspiration already, but you have people who put a mirror up to your face and show you – “look where you are now”.”
“You can still always do better and do more though,” she adds. Guided by this belief Asanda is committed to paying it forward within her community. “In university, I did a career day event with an organisation in Langa. I did some tutoring last year with a few children in my street and I plan to do more of that.”