Matie Voices

Farai Mubaiwa

Alumna of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences

“The only way to learn is by falling, getting back up again and trying a new strategy.”

Accounting and history were Farai Mubaiwa’s favourite subjects at school and she chose to study accounting for the sake of job security and because her parents liked it. However, while studying accounting, she realised that she will have job security after her studies, but not a career that would allow her to make an impact on Africa.

In her honours year, Farai changed from financial accounting to management accounting, which she could align to her passion for African growth. She achieved both a B accounting and a BCom management accounting honours degree at Stellenbosch University (SU).

She was involved in many aspects of student leadership and served as the speaker of the student parliament in her second year. After that, she was part of the house committee of the Sonop residence where she led the first-years’ portfolio and changed it to be empowering and to promote diversity.

Farai was also a member of the Student Representative Council (SRC) where she led the women empowerment portfolio, which was a portfolio she created in response to urgent needs to address levels of gender inequality on campus. However, her leadership roles did not end there, and she co-founded the Africa Matters Initiative with fellow Matie, Reanne Olivier. This initiative aims to upskill African youth through knowledge of the continent, leadership and soft skills, and social entrepreneurship workshops.

A job as a strategy and operations consultant at Deloitte followed and thereafter she went to King’s College London to pursue a master’s in the political economy of emerging markets through funding from the First Rand Scholarship. After returning to South Africa, she interned at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) where she did youth policy and climate change work. Thereafter, she started her career in international development by working at the Aurum Institute, a leading TB and HIV Research Institute, as a junior project manager. “My role is so exciting as it includes upskilling unemployed youth to reduce HIV and TB in South Africa.”

She loves working with the youth. “I love the interaction, hearing people’s stories and seeing what I can do to help contribute to the rise of the African continent around us. That is what Africa Matters also focuses on, it’s about youth engagement, it’s about creating avenues in order to empower youth and create a better Africa,” she says.

“I do the work that I do because it contributes to a greater Africa. It is about how I as an individual can work in collaboration with others in order to allow for this growth and change that need to occur so that Africa can reach its greatest potential.”

Farai’s goal in life is to be part of creating a rising and prosperous Africa.

“If there is one thing that I have learnt from the powerful women in my life, it is that resilience is key. It is okay to fall but you need to get back up again.” Her community and continent require that she get back up again and learn from her challenges. In her new role, she admits that she makes many mistakes, but that she re-evaluates what went wrong and then try again and improve.

“The only way to learn is by falling, getting back up again and trying a new strategy.”

- By Elbie Els -