Success is his only option – Siphiwe Mbatha
“Education is the key to changing your humble beginnings. Let it be the map that guides you to your dreams.” This is the motto by which Siphiwe Mbatha, alumnus of the Vaal Triangle Campus (NWU Vaal) lives.
Growing up in the dusty streets of Evaton, 10 kilometres from Sebokeng, Siphiwe knew that walking this distance to and from Beverly Hills High School every day must pay off eventually. He was right. As a strategic pricing analyst at Total SA he has established himself as a young professional with his sights set firmly on reaching the top.
Without mincing words, Siphiwe describes himself in two short sentences. “I don’t lack confidence at all and I believe in my abilities. I love to compete and I believe success is my only option.”
Siphiwe (right) and his twin brother, Sipho
Siphiwe with a fellow student during a
soccer match at this former residence, Thuthuka
Siphiwe as SRC Chairperson,welcoming
the new first year students to the Campus
Work hard, play hard
During his BCom studies he became involved in organised student life. As a resident of Thuthuka Residence, he was elected a house committee member in his first year.
The highlight of his student years was being elected Student Representative Council (SRC) president in 2009, the year in which he was also president of the Institutional SRC. The proudest moment was when he accepted the Rector’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership that same year.
At the time, Siphiwe was busy with a BCom Honours degree and was also the recipient of the award for best academic performance by a student leader.
Siphiwe was also a top goal scorer on the soccer field, the opening bowler of the university’s first cricket team and received university sport colours in bodybuilding. “My objectives remained clear: study hard, play hard and lead by example. I wanted to succeed in life and I knew I had to work hard every day to do all these things,” he says.
Siphiwe stays in contact with his alma mater and visits the campus regularly where, he says, he still feels at home.
According to him the multiracial nature of the campus taught him tolerance, respect and understanding of various racial groups. “Leadership engagement with university management, the student community and fellow student leaders was the biggest contribution to my professional career and personal growth.”
Double or nothing
Despite growing up poor, Siphiwe was inspired by his mother’s will to live happily and to persevere in hard times. She raised him and his four siblings alone in a loving home.
Today Siphiwe is father to a “smart and energetic” five-year-old boy and plans to pop the question to the love of his life before the end of the year. He lives by the saying of the former rector of the campus, Prof Piet Prinsloo: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” With wise words such as these to guide him, it seems certain that success is the only option.
One of his proudest moments at the Vaal Triangle Campus was when he received the