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Bongeka Sigoso has recently been awarded the Nnete Modise Bursary to complete her marketing degree at Red & Yellow Creative School of Business.
Bongeka Sigoso and Abey Mokgwatsane
The bursary was created with the aim to address the imbalance of access to quality education and careers in marketing and communications. It's specifically targeted to benefit black women who are unable to afford this quality of tertiary education.
Coming from a disadvantaged background, Sigoso told herself that she was going to work hard, not only so she could change her own life, but so that she could be a proponent of change for those around her.
Here, she tells us how she feels about receiving the bursary and what her plans are for the future...
How do you feel about being the recipient of the Nnete Modise bursary?
When I learned that Abey Mokgwatsane had selected me to be the recipient of the bursary, I really could not believe it. I am deeply appreciative for the generosity of his heart to create this initiative and make such a big investment in my studies. It's a great thing to see that there's people like him in the world, and I am also motivated to change someone's life one day. It feels great to know that I now can focus on keeping my marks where they need to be without having to worry about the rest.
Why did you choose to pursue a degree in marketing?
I worked as a store assistant at a retail store during my gap year in 2020. My duties included serving customers, tending to their complaints and restocking shelves. This experience taught me how competitive the sales industry is, and that motivated me to do research on how brands manage to do well in such a fast-paced and competitive field. This led me to the marketing industry.
After reading more about marketing and advertising and the role they play in representing a brand, I decided to pursue a degree in marketing. I have always believed that I am a creative genius, and after seeing that the science field was not for me, I didn't know which other field of study to get into until I learned about marketing. This is one of the best decisions I have ever made, because marketing is very exciting and offers so many career opportunities.
How are you finding your studies so far?
One thing I love about this degree is that it stretches you out of your comfort zone. I was never really comfortable with public speaking and group work, but I have learned to improve that through the assignments I need to do. I didn't enjoy reading, and coming from a science school I didn't know of anything happening in the economy and business environments. So my modules have pushed me into reading about what's happening around me. I have four semester modules at the moment, which are basically introduction modules. They are accounting, microeconomics, business management and customer experience (which is a great subject). I am excited and looking forward to my journey towards a bright future.
Why did you choose to study at Red & Yellow?
I found out about Red & Yellow through the Knowledge Trust, from whom I always received emails about study opportunities. I started following them on their social media platforms and gained access to their programme's information. After sifting through this information, I decided to study marketing at Red & Yellow. Being a student at Red & Yellow is a great privilege and advances chances of employment, because the school is partnered with a lot of cooperatives. The school also invests so much in their students. Not only do they offer the best programmes, but they also have other tools available to prepare their students for the real world. I want to be the best one day and Red & Yellow produces exactly that! Lastly, I chose Red & Yellow because it's a school for sponges.
Do you have any mentors in the industry?
I don’t currently have any mentors, but I look up to Lebo Lion greatly - a voice of marketing in South Africa.
What are your goals after graduation?
After graduating I want to start working as a marketer and get work experience. Perhaps in a few years, I will look into getting a postgraduate qualification. Mostly, I am planning to give back to the community as part of my ‘pay it forward’ project, which aims to help empower young, black women. I haven’t decided which side of marketing I will get into, there are just so many options to choose from. Like I said, this field is very exciting and offers so much.
What changes would you like to see in the marketing industry?
I would like to see more black women dominant in the industry. I would also like to see a focus on health marketing and opportunities for people who want to serve under health marketing.
What are your thoughts around the imbalance to the access of quality education and careers in marketing and communications?
I believe that there's a great need for opportunities, like the Nnete Modise Bursary, to change the imbalance of access of quality education in our black communities. There's great talent and innovative ideas within black communities, but there just aren't enough financial resources available to help those individuals. I believe that it takes people like Abey to make an impact in the lives of those creative individuals that lack funding resources.
What is your biggest motivation in life?
The knowledge that everything I do now will have a great impact on my future, and that all the opportunities available to me to work on myself keeps me motivated.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?
I spend most of my leisure time listening to podcasts by Lebo Lion.
Tell us something about yourself that is not generally known?
I have a passion for health, and I'm considering going into health marketing.
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