Johannesburg, 25 May 2021: Despite the new academic year starting a little later than usual this year, with schools rotating learners to ensure social distancing in classes and school grounds, learners and students have taken to the 2021 JSE Investment Challenge with renewed enthusiasm.
The Investment Challenge is in its 48th year and the hunger for investment knowledge among participants grows each month. While learners, teachers, and schools receive prizes for winning the monthly round of the competition, this is not their only motivation. The desire to acquire knowledge about investments and how to build wealth is what the learners and students value most.
Building wealth is the end goal
“I have learned the importance of building personal wealth,” says Junior Mahlangu from Rhodes University.
Mahlangu represents team ‘The Wealth Makers’, which won the April prize for the University Speculator category. “This knowledge should be a must for young people in particular,” says Mahlangu.
“Most people earn well, but do not have a financial cushion - they are focused on consumption expenditure. When there is an economic downturn, they are bankrupt." Mahlangu highlighted that when workers retire and cash out their pensions, they are likely to spend all their life savings in a year or two.
Mahlangu and his teammate, Mokopu Lephoi, are both final year accounting students at Rhodes University and plan to enhance their investment knowledge by registering for a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification. This year was the first time the Rhodes pair entered the Investment Challenge.
Revolutionising financial literacy
The thirst for investment knowledge is evidently taking root from quite an early age. “There is a buzz at our school at the moment. Every day we are registering a new group,” says Giba Mahlangu, teacher and mentor at ACUDEO College Crystal Park leading Gauteng-based team ‘Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5-ACCP’ which won the Income Portfolio category in the schools’ competition.
“Our deputy principal, who runs the school’s newsletter, wants the learners’ achievement to be all over the latest edition,” says Giba. “What the learners have achieved is big at this school. From the security guards to our grounds maintenance staff - they are all excited and proud of our learners.”
Giba says the JSE Investment Challenge has revolutionised how learners view themselves and their relationship with money.
"The appetite for financial knowledge has gone over the roof as a considerable number of our learners have opened their own real trading accounts. They want to apply this knowledge in the real world and are learning about entrepreneurship and all things to do with finance.”
Luvuyo Nxitywa, a teacher at Pretoria Chinese School says he holds teaching learners to be financially self-sufficient at an early age in high regard. His team of four learners named ‘Fire Fox’, won the April Speculator Portfolio challenge at school level. Though he is a newcomer to the school, Nxitywa's arrival is being felt in many areas, including championing participation in the challenge. He says his approach to teaching is giving learners the tools to be independent in life. “I do not give a man fish, I teach them how to fish,” says Nxitywa. “Consequently, I give all the credit to the learners for winning this accolade, it was a team effort by the learners."
The JSE Investment Challenge is not only changing learners’ attitudes and views around money and investing - it is bringing excitement to communities. Sizwe Mtsweni, a teacher at Mpumelelo Secondary School in Mpumalanga representing team ‘MP Unshaken Traders’ which won the school Equity Portfolio category for April, says their community is excited about the investment challenge.
Mtsweni says this is the second month in a row that his team has won the monthly competition. “Our strategy this year was simple, go big or go home,” says Mtsweni. The community is beginning to pay attention to what Mtsweni and his learners are doing. “People are asking me how they can invest in the JSE,” says Mtsweni. “The tone is definitely changing among the youth in this community. Our teachers have opened their own trading accounts and are now actively investing."
Ralph Speirs, CSI Officer at the JSE says, what comes with this newly acquired knowledge is not limited to exploring alternative investment options as there is also an appreciation of the fact that investing is a long-term process and there are no quick wins.
“The Investment Challenge aims to drive financial literacy among the South African youth,” says Speirs. “We want to ensure that when learners and students leave the education environment, they understand how to use their disposable income and acquire healthy savings habits.”
The Investment Challenge is the JSE’s flagship project for consumer education and part of its corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives.
April 2021 category winners
- Income portfolio- Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5-ACCP, ACUDEO College Crystal Park
- Equity portfolio-MP Unshaken Traders, Mpumelelo Secondary School
- Speculator portfolio- Fire Fox, Pretoria Chinese School
- Speculator portfolio (University)- The Wealth Makers, Rhodes University
Registration for the 2021 Investment Challenge are still open and interested learners and students can still participate in the competition. To register for the challenge, visit the JSE Investment Challenge website and to stay updated, follow the competition’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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