Zukisa Pityana is an Equity Analyst at Old Mutual Investment Group, and holds the position of Forum Chairperson of the Old Mutual Wealth and Investments Employment Equity Committee, where he helps to create and implement strategies to promote a sustainable diverse environment at the organisation.
Mr Pityana was a very active student, having served as Projects Executive and later Deputy Chairperson of the Black Management Forum, Rhodes University Chapter. He was also the Head Student at the De Beers Residence while he attended the University.
During and upon completing his BCom in Accounting and Economics at Rhodes University in 2013, Mr Pityana gained experience at several distinguished South African corporates including Anglo-Gold, Ernst & Young, SCAW South Africa, MMI Holdings, and Nozala Investments, before settling on Old Mutual Investment Group (“OMIG”), where he has been employed since 2017.
Since joining OMIG he has become elected as the Chairperson of the Employment Equity Committee which aims to identify and address the internal barriers to achieving diversity and inclusion within the organisation.
His continuous determination to better himself has led him to receive certificates in Portfolio Optimization and Fund and Discounted Cash flow Modelling through Sinayo Securities’ Project Funda, and to become a Chartered Financial Analyst Level 1 Candidate this year.
It is Mr Pityana’s passion for equality that led him to found the Ntombesizwe Scholarship, in which he leveraged his personal Rhodes University alumni network to fund holistic scholarships for Makhanda-born female students to study a degree with a professional roadmap. The scholarships will also include holiday employment and continuous mentorship from the alumni base.
As Founder and Chairperson of the Ntombesizwe Foundation, Mr Pityana is responsible for liaising with the funders and Rhodes University, assist in identifying students who qualify for the Scholarship, and identifying ways to fund even more students.
Beyond the Foundation, Mr Pityana has always strived to “pay it forward” and participates in speaking engagements that contribute to shaping the landscape of South Africa by encouraging young professionals to become thought leaders and look at the world from a perspective that encourages social change and justice.
One of his more recent achievements include being elected as an Advisory Council Member of the Construction Management Foundation, along with 15 other highly-qualified individuals from business, academia and government. It is believed that their skills will augment those of the board of directors and management team in advancing the strategic objectives of the Foundation. The Council will serve for a period of 3 years and meets twice a year to consider various matters raised by the Foundation.
Mr Pityana’s constant drive to elevate and encourage those less fortunate than himself and to share his passion for justice, inclusivity and social change makes him an ideal recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award.
Mr Zukisa Pityana's Acceptance Speech:
“If you hear this message, wherever you stand. I’m calling every woman. I’m calling every man. We’re the generation that can’t afford to wait. The future started yesterday. We’re already late.”
It is an honor and a privilege to be accepting this award in absentia. I have been both fortunate and deliberate to get to the point at which I am today. You see, I am part of the first group of democratic black South African freedom fighters and I am aware of my role in transforming world we live in.
I have been fortunate because I didn’t choose the family I was born into, however, I was afforded the best education from primary to tertiary. I was raised with a clear sense of my African identity in a westernized society. I have been supported through my failures and celebrated in my achievements. More importantly I’ve been given the freedom to fail and the encouragement not to give up. To my family I say thank you. I have also been fortunate to be a graduate of Rhodes University where I met friends for life. Friends and a network that made the Ntombesizwe Scholarship possible. One of whom reads this speech on my behalf.
I have been deliberate in how I’ve positioned myself given the opportunities I’ve been given:
I have been privileged enough to assist in founding and leading the Black Management Forum (BMF) Rhodes University Chapter. Where we learnt the difficulties of sharing a vision given the restrictions of mother body politics. The friends made there are also some of my best friends today.
I now serve as the Chairperson of the Employment Equity Committee where we try to remove barriers of to equitable treatment at the largest asset manager after the PIC in the country, Old Mutual Investment Group. The agenda to transform this slow transforming industry is well under way but we need to play our part by raising our voices to level a structurally uneven playing field.
I was invited to serve as an advisor to the board of the Construction Management Foundation (CMF). Equally in this space the idea is around creating sustainable solutions in the construction management sector in a manner that benefits all stakeholders of construction management. We are clear about how there is no sustainability without transformation and up-skilling black people. If we achieve nothing else, we need to have a clear implementable method of a sustainable industry.
Finally, the body I’m most proud of: Ntombesizwe Scholarship. A scholarship to which I had the idea but I was carried over the line by the driven alumni that know that it’s the right thing to do. We’ve seen countless Rhodes students during our time not being able to complete their studies due to lack of funding, and this is where Ntombesizwe fits in. We placed a special focus on black females who are from the Makhanda area, as we wanted to give back to the town that had given so much to us and contributed to who we are now in our various positions within the professional workspace. Rhodes has played a crucial part in assisting us with finding candidates, who all held exemplary standings academically, but our chosen candidate for the current year, Sinazo Madakana, who is here with us, stood out as she was not only raised in Makhanda, but she herself has a passion for the community and wants to give back once she has completed her studies.
She is currently in her third year of studies, majoring in Psychology and Economics, and is looking to enter the financial services sector on completion of her studies. Sinazo, we are 100% behind, and will continue to support you in any way we can.
In closing. My opening quote is by a singer and song writer by the name of John Legend. He also says, “I searched for a leader, but the leader was me.” I’d like challenge all alumni to switch from the prevailing negativity to action driven leaders that are part of the solution. Finally I’d like to thank The Rhodes University Alumni staff for all their support and assistance in getting us to this point. And to my generation (you in particular Sinazo), “If you hear this message, wherever you stand. I’m calling every woman. I’m calling every man. We’re the generation that can’t afford to wait. The future started yesterday. We’re already late.”
Ms Buhle Mazosiwe attended the Distinguished Alumni Awards and accepted Mr Zukisa Pityana's Award on his behalf: