Music and leadership balance graduate’s BCom studies

Posted on April 28, 2021

Accounting academic trainee Coenraad Middel received his Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting Sciences on 28 April 2021. However, his talents stretch much further than his BCom studies and includes a passion for music and leadership.
Middel grew up in a very musical family and have been surrounded by musicians his entire life.  “Music plays a very big role in my life, whether its practicing or arranging music at home, playing at church or coaching a cappella, it’s very rare that a day goes by without any form of music being part of it.”
The reason he loves music so much is that it enables him to express himself in ways that few other disciplines can. He discovered a cappella during his undergraduate studies, when he joined the Dregeana Day House’s a cappella group in his second year, became part of the Executive Committee of Dregeana in his third year and was then placed in charge of the a cappella group. In his postgraduate year last year he was asked to coach the group.
“We rehearsed on campus until lockdown started and also used online platforms during the lockdown period.  Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were unable to take part in the annual UP a cappella competition last year.  This year I am coaching the private residence Sonop’s a cappella group.”
Further to his musical ventures, he also completed a course called ‘The challenge programme’ last year, presented by the Department of Student Development. The course focuses on developing leaders in understanding the intersectionality of social justice and leadership.
“I decided to do the course because, during my time as student leader, I realised that there is a variety of social justice issues that young leaders are confronted with, but don't have the necessary education and knowledge to effectively and proactively deal with. If we as leaders are not able to understand the complexities if societal issues between different groups, how are we then going to be able to lead and bring people together?” he says.
He adds that the course contributes to his life on a daily basis. “In South Africa we have such a rich and diverse group of cultures and beliefs, and the challenge programme has enabled me to engage and have meaningful conversations with people from different backgrounds and beliefs that I have previously not been able to engage with.”
How did he manage to juggle his studies with his musical and leadership ventures? To him, planning is key. Staying busy with different projects also enables him to be focused and energised.
“I believe that taking ownership and responsibility for your life and the choices you make is extremely important. Knowing that I decided that I want to be a CA(SA) was a big motivation for me and is something I am determined to accomplish,” he notes.
Middel is doing his academic articles at UP this year, after which he will complete the remaining two years of his articles at Ernst & Young.  He will then write his final board exams in order to become a CA(SA). He will also be part of the UP Accounting PhD programme, which is a five-year programme that incorporates a master’s and PhD in Accounting.  
- Author Petronel Fourie
Published by Nonkululeko Kubeka Moyo

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