CA Cyril Madiba helps mould raw talent


CA Cyril Madiba’s greatest achievement is the work he has done in helping young people move into the formal economy.

Cyril Madiba believes that his biggest achievement, despite the string of awards behind his name, is helping young people. He left the corporate world to mentor young people through his foundation, and sit on the boards of NGOs to further this ambition. “My biggest aim is to impact the lives of others,” he says.

Growing up in the rural villages of KwaMachi and Eshowe, as well as the KwaMashu township in the KwaZulu-Natal region, he recognises the need to help others to get a tertiary education, and uses the skills he has learned throughout his career to do his best to make a positive impact on society.

While in school, Cyril didn’t know what a CA was, and he initially wanted to be a professional soccer player, following in his dad’s footsteps, as his father was semi-professional. He had the talent, but perhaps not the opportunity, growing up in townships in Durban.

A piece of litter tumbling across the schoolyard gave him the inspiration he needed. It was a SAICA pamphlet. Cyril, who found his home environment to be too noisy to be a good study environment, as his mom stayed with many of her siblings in a two-bedroom RDP house, was at school after hours. “In grade 10, I stayed behind after school to study in the classroom. I found the SAICA pamphlet while taking a walk to clear my head.”

As it turned out, Cyril – who was excelling in accountancy in school – did his homework on SAICA, became a CA, and saw that there weren’t enough people in the profession, which meant he had the potential to get a solid job that paid well.

CAs Leading Change Series

CFO South Africa has partnered with CAConnect/Milpark Education to bring you a special instalment highlighting the chartered accountants (CAs) who are making an impact in their respective industries and the country. Find out how they are leading change in this monthly series of interviews.

Pursuing his passion for people

Cyril left the corporate world behind in July last year and transitioned to a life of impacting others. Currently, he has “something bubbling”.

As an aspiring philanthropist with a passion for the personal development and empowerment of South Africa’s youth as well as inspiring the next generation of leaders, Cyril founded the Cyril Madiba Empowerment Foundation in 2021. A non-profit organisation, it seeks to reduce the inequality gap and halt the poverty cycle, especially among previously disadvantaged communities.

"This foundation has impacted almost 80 youngsters, and the fifth cohort will kick off in April with candidates currently being screened."

His involvement in the NGO sector is extensive, and he has held various positions, including previously chairing the Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust (CRET) Advisory Board, made up of previous CRET beneficiaries. Here, those who are on the board provide advice to CRET on strategic and operational imperatives. As part of the relationship, he delivers motivational talks to the students in addition to his mentoring capacity.

Taking his mentoring passion a step further, he is a certified life coach and the founder of The Growth Switch, which assists students and young professionals with academic, career, and personal development growth insights.

Cyril also believes in helping those who helped him, and is on the board of the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), and the Finance, Audit and Risk board sub-committee of the Adopt-A-School Foundation (AASF), a partner entity of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation (CRF). "The CRF, through its partner entity CRET, supported me through my studies 19 years ago, and now I gives back by not only being a member of the board subcommittee at AASF, but also mentoring, and helping it with its strategy."

As an alumnus, he and previous beneficiaries started a fund that “sent three students to university in a way that we were supported”.

In his other life, he is the co-founder and managing director of The Native Family Group, a diversified group with operations in farming, book publishing, fast food, advisory, coaching and youth development.

Cyril, who has an MBA from MANCOSA that he completed last month, manages small teams at The Native Family Group. "We only have three staff members, and the Cyril Madiba Empowerment Foundation has two voluntary staff who came via a cohort at the  foundation," he said, explaining: I was really impressed with them.”

All this work has meant that he has many awards. In 2020, Cyril was recognised as one of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Top 35 under 35 finalists. In 2021, he was credited by the Hope Givers Foundation as a Community Builder Nominee, which was followed by being included in the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans.

To really get away from it all, Cyril goes on vacation in the bush where there isn't a cellphone signal to spend quality time with his wife and two children. Cyril is also a sports fan, especially of basketball in the US, and watching some of the All-Star finals is on his bucket list. “I make sure I have downtime,” he says.

Should Cyril move on, he would look for a C-suite job at an NGO: “It’s important to live according to what fulfils you.”

This CAs Leading Change Series interview is proudly brought to you by CAConnect/Milpark Education.

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