Awards and Competitions
Trainee Trailblazer Awards

Trainee Trailblazer


These prestigious awards recognise and celebrate outstanding trainee achievements, fostering a culture of excellence, innovation, and professional development among aspiring Chartered Accountants (CA(SA)). Through these awards, SAICA aims to celebrate the remarkable achievements of CA(SA) trainees and contribute to the overall trainee program, nurturing a culture of continuous professional development and competencies.


  • Disruptive Innovator Award sponsored by Xero: Champions innovative solutions in the accounting field.
  • Social Change Champion Award: Actively contributes to positive social or economic change.
  • Wellness Advocate Award: Promotes and supports mental health awareness and other related areas within their business and/or community.
  • Resilience Award: Demonstrates exceptional determination and achievement in the face of adversity.
  • SDG Champion: Demonstrates exceptional leadership and commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their work.
  • SAICA Brand Ambassador: Actively promotes SAICA and its designations through branding, marketing and communication efforts, thought leadership or public engagement and/or has contributed to SAICA's development and advocacy efforts.

Our sponsors:

Standard Bank

Headline sponsor


Gold sponsor


Silver sponsor

See our previous finalists below

We are thrilled to introduce you to the remarkable Wamashudu Mukheli, our Trainee Trailblazers Winner for 2023!

Wamashudu Mukheli is not just a name; he's a visionary leader who's making waves in the world of education. As the co-founder and Managing Director of Campus Connect, an Ed-Tech company based in Gauteng, South Africa, he's changing the game!

A Wits Graduate and currently in his second year of completing his SAICA articles at BDO South Africa in Johannesburg, specialising in Financial Services Valuations and Credit, Wamashudu's dedication to education led him to establish Campus Connect in 2019.

Campus Connect has been a beacon of hope for over 20 000 students from various universities across the country, providing them with top-notch educational learning materials to excel in their Chartered Accountancy journey. 💡

Wamashudu Mukheli's vision and leadership are driving a significant impact in the field of Chartered Accountancy education, inspiring countless others along the way.

Join us in celebrating this outstanding achievement and the difference Wamashudu is making in education!

Meet the 2023 Trainee Trailblazer Finalists:

Aphelele Dini

Aphelele is a first-year trainee at Newtons Chartered Accountants. She completed her studies at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, where she currently resides and is also completing her articles. Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, specifically in Mthatha, Aphelele has a strong background in various student governing bodies, which has fueled her passion for serving people, especially young individuals. She founded a movement and later registered it as an NPC with the aim of empowering young girls to discover their identities. This initiative was largely inspired by the challenges she faced during her transition from her hometown to the diverse and culturally rich university environment. Aphelele's ultimate vision is to change people's lives by serving them wherever she is and with whatever resources she has available.

Asisipho Gagayi

Asisipho is a young professional working at the office of the Auditor General South Africa. She holds the role of Secretary for the AGSA National Young Professional Leadership Forum. A strong advocate for kindness, she consistently treats others with kindness, expecting no rewards in return. Her overarching goal in all her endeavours is to have a positive impact on people's lives. Furthermore, Asisipho is an active member of the Amar Charity organization, a group of young professionals committed to assisting the less fortunate. They contribute funds to the organization and use them to aid those in need. Her passion extends to motivating and mentoring individuals, sharing insights about potential career opportunities, and supporting them in their academic pursuits. In addition to her charitable work, Asisipho has a history of service at the Eastern Cape SAICA Maths Development Camp. She served as a leader in 2015 and 2016, a camp supervisor in 2017, and a Camp Manager in 2023. Her unwavering belief in achieving greatness drives her to continually strive for excellence in all she does.

Bandile Dyasi

Bandile is an ambitious CA(SA) trainee in her second year of SAICA articles at BDO Financial Services. She is passionate about financial modelling, valuations, investments, and nurturing young professionals, aiming for excellence in all her endeavours. Within the Specialised Valuation and Credit Group, Bandile applies her analytical skills and keen attention to detail to produce top-quality work. She also holds leadership roles as a Representative for second-year Trainee Accountants, supporting their development. Furthermore, Bandile contributes actively to the Corporate Social Initiatives committee and represents African Females on the Employment Equity Committee board. Dedicated to personal and professional growth, Bandile shares her journey towards becoming a CA(SA) on her YouTube and LinkedIn profiles. She is particularly interested in education, leadership, mentoring, and fostering young professional development. Bandile is the founder of Young Professionals Hub, focused on creating networking opportunities, business seminars, and bootcamps, and providing guidance to professionals to excel in their careers.

Daniel Martin

Daniel a family-oriented man and devoted follower of Jesus, is a Johannesburg native known for his entrepreneurial spirit (like how he’s still trying to figure out how to tell his `2016-self not to sell his 0.53 Bitcoin). From selling marbles as a child to peddling plants, his knack for business started early. After excelling as a deputy-head boy in matric, he pursued a BBusSc in Finance with Accounting at the University of Cape Town. During this time, he launched Cacoon, a venture aiding CA students, in managing their heavy textbooks. Post-selling Cacoon, he ventured into web design during his PGDA, albeit struggling to balance academics and entrepreneurship. In 2022, he began his TOPP Entrepreneurship articles at VAT IT and married Leandra. Finding his place at VAT IT, he embraced the Head of Sales Enablement role at TecEx, leading a team of 37 salespeople. His business transitioned towards LinkedIn and sales enablement, providing opportunities to collaborate with global CEOs. Daniel is a multifaceted individual who combines faith, family, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving.

Fernard Luthando Makwakwa

Fernard, a 23-year-old hailing from Nkomazi, South Africa, is a shining example of determination and community service. Starting at Mjokwane Secondary School, he earned three distinctions upon matriculation, showcasing his academic prowess. In 2020, Fernard graduated with a Bachelor of Accounting Science from the University of Johannesburg and followed it with a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (CTA) in 2022. Currently in his second year of articles at the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), he aspires to become a Chartered Accountant (CA). Beyond academics, Fernard founded the FL Makwakwa Foundation in 2018, dedicated to empowering young learners. The foundation has facilitated university applications, organized school programs, hosted career exhibitions, and mentored over 50 individuals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his "Taking School to Our Homes" campaign provided academic support to over 50 students in Naas (Mafambisa). Fernard's commitment to education and community welfare has made him a beacon of inspiration, and his journey exemplifies the transformative power of education and resilience.

Marumo Lolo Masemola

Marumo is a third-year trainee who finished her studies at the University of Limpopo. Hailing from Ga-Masemola, her upbringing in a family of four and her mother's entrepreneurial endeavours initially fueled her aspirations to become an entrepreneur. However, she redirected her focus toward a corporate career with a strong commitment to societal impact. Influenced by her high school teacher's lesson on servant leadership, Marumo excelled academically and engaged in extracurricular activities. During university, she observed challenges faced by students, particularly those from rural areas, including a lack of career guidance and financial constraints. Marumo addressed these issues by joining the Centre of Academic Excellence (CAE) as a mentor, later becoming Senior Mentor and Deputy Chairperson. She also played a pivotal role in informing high school students about career paths. In her articles, Marumo advocated successfully for 1 000 monthly food parcels to support students at the University of Limpopo. Her dedication earned her the Trainee Leader of the Year award from ABASA in 2022. As part of the Duke Executive development program, Marumo aims to uplift others and contribute positively to society through her corporate journey, building relationships with like-minded individuals.

Peter Brinker

Peter is a forward-thinking individual with a passion for the convergence of technology and financial services, aligned with his visionary goal: "To drive the adoption of low-code tools in business to democratize data analytics and innovation." Over the past 5 and half years, he has been on a relentless journey of personal and professional growth, immersing himself in the realms of finance and technology. Peter has seamlessly integrated his financial expertise with his deep involvement in building digital tools. These tools not only automate tasks but also excel in data analytics and fostering innovation. In essence, his professional identity can be distilled into several key attributes: he possesses an innate ability to solve complex problems through logical thinking, thrives in collaborative team environments, exhibits a profound enthusiasm for continuous learning from peers, and takes great pleasure in sharing his knowledge with others. Moreover, Peter gravitates towards projects that serve as valuable learning experiences, equipping him with the skills and insights needed to tackle challenges and provide solutions. With his commitment to the integration of technology and finance, he stands poised to make a lasting impact.

Rachel-Leigh Audier

Rachel-Leigh, currently in the training office at Shoprite Checkers, is a dedicated individual with a vision for community impact. Her goal is to be a catalyst for positive change in her community through her various roles, including employee, friend, family member, SAICA member, and Toastmasters International member. Rachel-Leigh has made remarkable progress in her education, successfully passing the ITC and set to write the APC by year-end. Her professional journey commenced with a year at a small audit and consulting firm, followed by her articles at Shoprite Checkers. Within the latter, she has rotated through diverse divisions such as ShopriteX, Properties, and Group Finance, gaining a well-rounded experience. Rachel-Leigh's community involvement exemplifies her dedication to making a difference. Notably, she initiated and managed the "Be a Difference Maker – Trainee Bottle Tops Collection" initiative, contributed to student training at the Edu-Build Institute through Toastmasters, and provided invaluable support to her church by offering mathematics, maths literacy, and accounting extra lessons throughout 2022. She embodies the spirit of community service and strives to create a lasting impact wherever she goes.

SK Kheswa

SK is a dynamic finance professional renowned for driving innovation through a profound understanding of finance, which in turn fuels transformative growth within organisations. His areas of keen interest encompass private equity, investment banking, and corporate finance. As a dedicated private equity analyst, SK specialises in meticulous valuations, intricate financial modelling, comprehensive business report writing, and rigorous due diligence practices. His expertise spans diverse sectors, demonstrating mastery in financial services, expansive infrastructure (Utilities, Social & ICT Infrastructure, Transportation, Energy), Real Estate, and the pharmaceutical industry. Particularly notable is his pronounced affinity for the renewable energy sector and project finance, underscoring his commitment to sustainability. Currently pursuing a part-time bachelor’s degree in quantitative management with a focus on financial mathematics and statistics, SK aspires to specialise further in financial and intricate mathematical modelling. He is enthusiastic about integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence into the finance domain. In his relentless pursuit of excellence, SK is also on the path to becoming a Chartered Accountant in 2024. Outside his professional pursuits, SK enjoys reading, with "Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell being his favourite book, as well as engaging in exercise and sports activities.

Trevor Chinyanga

Trevor a rising star in accounting, is in his third year as a trainee accountant, already leaving a remarkable mark with a record of excellence. Having passed his board exams, he's refining his skills at Deloitte, a global professional services leader. During his Deloitte tenure, Trevor's standout role as the Deputy Chairperson of Deloitte Future Leaders in 2022 showcases not only his professional acumen but also his leadership prowess. Besides Deloitte, Trevor actively contributes to the Durban and District Trainee Association. Elected Chairperson in 2023, he's instrumental in creating networking and learning opportunities, fostering community and collaboration. Trevor extends his commitment to service beyond his profession, driving community outreach, mentorship programs for university students, and fundraising for Liv Village, a children's home. He passionately believes in individuals' power to make a real difference in the world. Trevor Chinyanga is an emerging accounting leader and a fervent advocate for social change, embodying the belief that "We have the power to change the world, and nothing can stop us." With unwavering dedication to both his profession and community, Trevor is an unstoppable force.

Wamashudu Mukheli

Wamashudu is the co-founder and Managing Director of Campus Connect, an Ed-Tech company headquartered in Gauteng, South Africa. A graduate of Wits University, he is currently in the second year of his SAICA articles at BDO South African Johannesburg, specializing in Financial Services Valuations and Credit. Wamashudu's unwavering passion for education propelled him to co-found and lead the Campus Connect team. Since its establishment in 2019, Campus Connect has been providing educational learning materials for students aspiring to become Chartered Accountants. Their WebApp platform has served over 20,000 students from various universities across the country. His remarkable journey as the co-founder and Managing Director of Campus Connect underscores his dedication to advancing education in South Africa. His vision and leadership continue to leave a significant imprint in the realm of Chartered Accountancy education.