Reading through Thomas Kgokolo’s CV is a mammoth, and inspiring, task.

Chartered accountant, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chairperson and chief risk officer are just some of the roles Kgokolo, 32, has held at establishments including his own wealth management company, the Mineworkers Provident Fund and the Competition Commission of South Africa.

And let us not forget his MBA, which he completed through the Gordon Institute of Business Science last year. His accolades are just as numerous and include the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Top 35 Chartered Accountants under 35 and Destiny Man’s Top 40 Outstanding Leaders under 40.

In 2015, the Sowetan selected him as one of its Top 100 Young Bosses in South Africa. Yet, beyond the awards, Kgokolo is a self-made entrepreneur who is determined to marry his passions for public sector finance with developing the financial literacy of people in low-income groups.

All this he does with an acute emotional intelligence and a genuine desire to uplift and empower others who come from similar disadvantaged backgrounds.

It’s what makes Kgokolo a beacon of everything South Africa and its leadership could be: an example of what is possible when you take risks and work hard to overcome adversity and live a dream that’s bigger than your present circumstances.