Dr Sipho Ncongwane, 54, is no ordinary man. His CV features some of the biggest names in South Africa’s corporate world. Old Mutual, Anglo American, State Information Technology Agency (SITA), Eskom and the South African Revenue Service (SARS)… These are just a handful of the companies where he’s played a pivotal role.
In a league of his own
What makes Dr Sipho remarkable is not just his resume, though. His humility and heartfelt desire to help others is disarming. “Caring for people, especially the vulnerable communities, is what drives me,” he says.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts, BA Honours and an MBA, as well as a Doctorate in Literature and Philosophy. Dr Sipho is also a qualified teacher. Phew! If that’s not inspiring enough he’s currently studying for his Master of Social Science in Community Mental Health Promotion through SACAP.
What motivated him to pursue this course of study? Why SACAP? We managed a very quick catch up with Dr Sipho. Here’s what he has to say…
The power of perseverance
Dr Sipho championed education from early on in his life. “My parents encouraged me and my siblings to get educated,” he explains. “We were very poor. Hard work earned me bursaries and scholarships. I believe education has the power to break systematic poverty and increase opportunities for a better life.”
His journey with psychology began when he was studying for his BA. “I majored in psychology,” he says. “I then decided to do my honours in psychology. Some universities wanted me to do it full-time and to start from scratch. SACAP, however, gave me the opportunity without the discriminatory requirements.”
SACAP’s solution-driven support
Dr Sipho is in the final year of his two-year master’s degree, which he’s studying part-time at SACAP’s Johannesburg campus. The course focuses on South African mental health needs at a group level. “I like that it places one in the centre of a community to solve real needs,” he says.
Why did he choose to enrol at SACAP specifically? “The course is solution driven and community centred with powerful tools, a blended approach to learning and caring lecturers,” Dr Sipho says. “Robust debates are encouraged and students are strategically introduced to other networks. I think there’s an immediate return on investment, too.”
SACAP’s learning environment is another highlight for him apparently. “We have great lecturers – a good mix of young and old. Small but dynamic and personal, it’s a very supportive environment.”
A broad base of benefits
Currently Dr Sipho works as a Human Resources Talent Specialist at SARS. We asked him how his SACAP qualification is useful to his role. “I work with different employee communities,” he says. “SACAP’s master’s is empowering. It has helped me determine where the needs are so that I can work with stakeholders to resolve them using continuous and sustainable mechanisms.”
Looking forward Dr Sipho says he hopes his SACAP qualification will open many more doors for him. “I’d like to drive transformation agendas in corporates and possibly establish my own practice,” he says. “My aim is to increase research outputs in communities, and collaborate with local and international organisations to craft solutions. Lobbying and advocacy are what communities need.”
Into infinity and beyond
Dr Sipho feels his master’s is informing his life in other ways, too. “I am focusing on nyaope users in my community,” he explains. “My plan is to establish 10 nyaope rehabilitation centres in Guateng, KZN and Mpumalanga. I hope to rehabilitate more than 1 000 nyaope users in the next five years.”
What will you be doing five years from now? You could follow Dr Sipho’s lead and fulfil your purpose while nurturing your passion. SACAP offers a wide range of accredited courses that will introduce, immerse and inspire you in the field of psychology.
We asked Dr Sipho if he’d recommend SACAP. “Yes!” he asserts. “The college has well researched courses, a good blended learning system and access to the library online and on campus. Overall my experience at SACAP has been very encouraging and inspiring. As a student I have felt special and loved,” he concludes. SACAP has expertly curated courses starting soon. Do you want to embark on your own journey towards fulfilling your unique potential and ultimately your success? Click here to find out more.