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Academic excellence was honoured at the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Department of Management Accounting which is under the helm of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics.

The department held its third Annual Awards Ceremony at the Protea Hotel by Marriott Karridene Beach, last Friday, 31 March 2022.

These awards form part of the various initiatives by the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics to encourage and motivate students to excel in their academic work. This event was supposed to take place last year in 2021 but had to be postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. However, that did not hinder the spirit of the Awards Committee members, Ms Msomi and Ms Zunckel who find it imperative to commemorate students who have done more than exceptional in their studies.

The top performing 2020 students were awarded for their outstanding work and dedication, despite everything that they had encountered in the year 2020.

In attendance at the awards was Management Accounting Acting Head of Department Dr Zwelihle Wiseman Nzuza, Ms Mbali Portia Msomi, Mr Mzwandile Atkins Mbambo, Mr Thabiso Sthembiso Msomi, Ms Sharon Zunckel, Mrs Bongekile Giqwa (Secretary), Mr Naresh Roshan Nunden, Mrs Verna Yearwood, Mrs P Gwala and Mr Bonginkosi Nkosi.

The 42 students who excelled in their studies, obtained awards for their sterling work achieved in the Advanced Diploma: Management Accounting 4, Financial Management 4, Strategic Planning, Risk Management, National Diploma: Management Accounting 3, Cost Accounting 2, National Diploma (ECP): Management Accounting 3, Cost Accounting 2, Diploma: Cost and Management Accounting 1.

Acting Head of Department, Dr Nzuza welcomed the students expressing how privileged the department is to honour the students who have made both the department and their parents proud of their achievements.

“This programme is held to recognise the young talents who have made an immense contribution to our school and society at large. We all understand that it is education that is a tool to defeat poverty, now the question is how can education defeat poverty? I believe that education, from my understanding, is about getting the right information that transcends knowledge and ultimately becoming skilled. So, it is through your skills in time that you have that you will be able to defeat poverty,” he said.

He also relayed that poverty is a lack of education, lack of knowledge and those factors contributed to poverty is that one finds themselves unable to put bread on the table because they lack these attributes.  He further added that South Africa’s education is not a tool to sustain the current economy but to improve it for the better.

The next speaker was Mrs Yearwood, who conveyed that on behalf of all the academics and colleagues from the Department of Management Accounting, they welcomed all students and staff to the prestigious event to celebrate the students’ achievements.

“On behalf of all the academics and colleagues from the Department of Management Accounting, we are so happy to be here to celebrate your success,” she said.

She expressed that this has been quite a challenging time for students.

“Some of you had face to face lectures, some of you did not, and yet we sit here to celebrate how you have overcome the various challenges that you went through,” she relayed.

She further added that the fact that the students were all sitting at the function and the Department of Management Accounting are celebrating the students’ success shows that students were able to balance the good and the bad and had risen above all situations.

She asked students to give special thanks to all the lecturers for the work that they had put in, and making sure students were successful and were able to move to the next level, and for some students to get to the point of actual graduation.

“I want to send a special thank you to the Administrative side of our department, our secretary, Mrs Bongekile Giqwa. When we went online it was hectic and she was our first point of communication. Also, our computer expert, Mr Bonginkosi Nkosi, for all that he did for us. To the awardees, a very big well done from the department, we wish you only the best. We look forward to seeing you climb the ladder into higher qualifications that the department has to offer. We ask that you keep abreast with the developments that are taking place in Management Accounting and Financial Management and to constantly engage with the department to find out what is happening. Wish you all the best,” she said elatedly.

Speaking on behalf of the students was Ms Palesa Gwala. She congratulated all the students who were all at the awards function deservedly. Ms Gwala indicated that the students had been introduced to virtual learning in a space whereby they did not think it was possible,

“Also COVID-19 challenged us to a point where we did not know what to do with ourselves. Some of us had never done virtual learning before. I want to just congratulate everyone for embracing the challenge and taking it on and making sure you win at it,” she said enthused.

She expressed that all students are victors because they had written exams through load-shedding, virtual learning- the only way that students are able to receive learning currently.

“We all stayed focused, stayed true to our vision, seeing who you want to be, and everyone deserves each and every award that would be given. I would like to thank each and every one, our department, our lecturers, and everyone who has made our journey somewhat easier. We appreciate all you guys for working hand in hand for our best, our good. We thank God also. We need these type of events to encourage us to always look forward to some reward. Some of us here don’t even have people supporting us in this journey and these type of events give us courage, give us hope that we are seen in a way,” she said.

The next part of the event entailed handing out certificates by the Acting Head of Department Dr Nzuza, Ms Msomi and other academics from the Department of Management Accounting. The following part of the event involved giving gifts to the student representatives as a token of appreciation. The student representatives had helped with administrative duties between 2020 and 2021.

Expressing her heartfelt thoughts was Ms Msomi who firstly congratulated all the students who have done more than exceptional and indicated that they are well-deserving to be celebrated. She expressed that she is always a mother to new students in the Management Accounting Department.

“I just want to say to you guys we are very much appreciative, we are like your parents, you know at any given point you can consult any of the Management Accounting lecturers. We just want you guys to note that we appreciate you, your efforts are recognised and this event would not be possible if it was not for the department itself and you, students. This is the third year we are hosting the awards and we pride ourselves because, within our Faculty, we are the Department which is pushing through for students in terms of celebrating all the students who have done exceptionally well,” she added.

Ms Msomi further thanked all her colleagues, saying that this event could not have been possible without them. She also thanked the Audio Visual team and special guest from Communications, Mrs Waheeda Peters for giving coverage to the auspicious event.

Giving the vote of thanks was Mr Nkosi, who also showed gratitude to all the staff and students for their hard work and for hosting such a successful event.

In closing, Mrs Yearwood indicated that when students make it out in the industry and obtain jobs, they needed to come back and relay what their experience is like in the industries.

“It is only by your interaction with us that we can start shifting the changes in the curriculum because you have walked the journey. You are sitting in the industry and you know what is expected and we would thoroughly enjoy critical engagement with you, especially our students who have completed their Advanced Diploma and are out in the industry already. Come back and have conversations with us, let’s see how we can make our qualifications better,” she said.

Pictured: Speaking on behalf of the students was Ms Palesa Gwala, at the event.

Waheeda Peters

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