Lulu Sinkala
(Class of 2016)

ICIB Onboarding

Investec Corporate & Institutional Banking

My journey with project Funda began in 2015 when the institution with which I was completing my degree was looking for 3 young women to join the bigger project Funda group. The group had students and young professionals from different schools and different companies.

I have always been the type to break out of my comfort zone to learn new skills, so Joining Project Funda, when I did, was a very timely move. I was at a stage in my academic career where I wanted to learn more, to be exposed more, and to confirm to myself whether joining the financial services sector was what I wanted. The project Funda Journey did not disappoint at all. I learned so many skills that would later on at times even serve as the only armor I had on when:

-Looking for a job (a lot of networking skills were imparted to us)
-Securing interviews and excelling at them.
-Fitting into corporate and surviving as a young black woman who not only wants to be heard but wants to be a part of the change-makers in the environment, we serve in.

Although my first job whilst completing my final year was not entirely a finance-related job – it was still within the financial services space, and I managed to secure this without having obtained my degree merely because of the interview skills I learned on the Project Funda programme.

Due to the constant “rubbing of shoulders with giants” that sis Babalwa pushed for, I started to view the world as only having limits that I mentally set for myself. In other words, her success and the success of the many great black women we got to know over the years through networking events have taught me that I can both dream big and achieve those dreams. A lot of the other practical skills that we learned were Excel Financial Modelling, how to properly handle a portfolio of stock etc., all of which school never taught us despite the kind of fees we paid which we barely were able to afford. The exposure from project Funda gave me a spring or a boost that a lot of us young black people lack because our parents simply could not give us an education and exposure due to a lack of resources and I truly appreciate that. I currently work for the company I have always had a goal to work for (Investec) and I still give credit to Project Funda for having built me a tenacious backbone and having equipped me so well with what to expect and how best to prepare myself and lastly how far in the sky I can shoot for.

In the future, I would like to see Project Funda carry on this legacy to help give more young black youth the exposure and mentoring they need to – break into, survive corporate, and even thrive. I think more of the courses should be had that speak to financial services, even the risk and compliance space should have some material covered that may pique the interest of those that do want to enter the financial services space but want less to do with the finance and more to do with the regulation aspect of it. Moving forward, the networking dinners will serve as useful especially after almost 2 years of not being able to physically network and meet industry experts willing to nurture young talent.

Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity that was completely free of charge sis Babalwa, you stand by your gospel to empower the female black youth and it’s amazing to see all of us little flowers bloom and spread our petals out wide.

Tebello Rabele
(Class of 2017)


Wealth Manager


Investec Wealth &

I was first introduced to the Sinayo network through a colleague at Investec, whilst I was in the call center. I noticed that most of them are doing well in their career and they mentioned that Sinayo’s programme gave them that edge. Having a keen interest in markets, I applied to be enrolled in the programme and enjoyed gaining practical experience in industries I would like to work in. It also helped me identify the specific space I would like to be a part of.

After joining the alumni community, we have been provided several networking opportunities and access to a community that allows us to impact society positively. I am currently a Wealth Manager at Investec Wealth & Investment and a founding partner at a Software Development firm. I still touch base with members of our alumni community regularly to share insights on studies, share opportunities, and collaborate on helping others.

Sinayo has become a professional family which I truly appreciate. I am also inspired daily by uMa Babalwa, who encourages us to always strive to be the best.

Hope the programme continues to touch the lives of young professionals.

Karabo Matoba
(Class of 2018)

Corporate FX Sales Trader, CIB: Global Markets

ABSA Corporate

I feel like my timing of being part of project Funda was perfect.

As a financial market enthusiast, straight out of university, I was looking for a programme, and an opportunity to kick start my career in financial markets. Although the opportunity that came along with project Funda wasn’t in the form of a job, it gave me more than I expected.

The programme provides a broad foundation of equities as an asset class, covered from research and valuations, portfolio management, as well as how Hedge funds use the product. The fact that the programme is practical and case study-based is an added bonus, also allowing you to showcase and apply what you have learned throughout the programme, via group-based presentations.

I believe the programme gave me an advantage. Firstly, it broadened my view and understanding concerning both the local and global equity markets. Secondly, the programme provided me with structure and boosted my confidence, when placed in a position where I must engage on the matter. Thirdly, it helped me build up my CV.

And with all the above, my first interview was also my last interview. The foundation provided by project Funda was the main anchor in my interview. It helped me hold the conversation and articulate myself as though I had been in the industry before.

Although in my current position as an FX Sales Trader I deal with a different asset class, the principles are predominantly the same. The financial modelling and excel course keep J on coming through for me more than anything else at this point. The project contributed massively to my journey, and I always talk about and recommend it to most young, because of the difference it made for me.

Gqama Lusu
(Class of 2016)

Equities Derivatives Trader

Investec Corporate & Institutional Banking

I started my employment career as a repurchases administrator at Stanlib in 2015 and from then on have never looked back on my passion for financial markets. In 2015 due to my limited work experience and financial markets knowledge, I was always eager to bolster my knowledge in the industry whether through reading journals or watching Bloomberg news daily to assess what was moving the world.

After six months at Stanlib, I moved on and joined Sinayo Securities as a junior equity trader where I completed my JSE RPE exams to become a trading member on the exchange. The equities trading space is very fast-paced and intimidating and having been thrown straight into the deep end as a junior equity trader Sinayo Securities provided the necessary support to upskill me and other youngsters with the necessary toolkit for us to perform at the expected levels through a programme called “Project Funda”.
Project Funda undoubtedly equipped us with the detailed program to be young traders, analysts, and investment professionals through 3 five day courses covering topics such as Portfolio Management Equity and Valuations and Corporate Finance, the duration of the programme is 18 months and also includes mentorship evenings with some doyens of the industry, board members of some of the biggest listed companies on the JSE.

As a young person I feel it is equally important to match technical knowledge and skills together with access and mentorship, Project Funda combines the two, and thus once completing the course you are not intimidated to construct presentations to present in corporate boardrooms also matched with the technical skills covered during Project Funda.

Sinayo Securities and Project Funda leapfrogged me to fulfill one of my dreams, to work at one of the top Banks in South Africa on the trading floor. After 2 years at Sinayo Securities cash equity trading desk, I then moved onto join Investec Securities and sit within the equity derivatives desk, trading DeltaOne products.

I will forever be thankful to Sinayo Securities for allowing me the opportunity to excel in financial markets through Project Funda and specifically continue to encourage any youngster to apply to join this unique programme to build their future. Thank you to sis Babalwa Ngonyama for pioneering this incubation programme to make a difference in educating the youth in South Africa. I would like to close off with one of my favourite quotes “Carpe Diem”.

Mlungisi Mama
(Class of 2016)

Head: Market
Research and Insight

Alexander Forbes Market Development Team

I had the honour to be one of the first groups to go through the Project Funda programme, which was in 2015. I recall one of the courses that stood out for me and it helped me regarding the analyst journey that I was about to embark on was the – Equity Markets and Equity Valuations – this was a personal favourite in the programme.

I used this skill plenty when I was at the PIC as a Research Analyst where my duties were to conduct market research and reports to ensure that the PIC takes sound investment decisions in the agriculture and agro-processing sector. Also, conduct general macroeconomic research and reporting for the PIC.
Over and above what’s being said, I’m also a board member of the Raymond Mhlaba AFGRI Initiative and I’m also a director and shareholder of NEBIA Energy-a newly formed energy company that focuses on renewable energy on the continent and in the United States of America.