East London-born Tennyson Botes’ star is certainly on the rise, after he was appointed interim CEO of the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) in April.
The promotion is the latest step in a long and interesting journey.
As a child, Botes grew up surrounded by sport and academics, helped in no small part by his father’s role as residence head of the Bellville Teacher’s College (now Western Cape College of Education).
“As a kid, this upbringing exposed me to a religious and student life, because I was always among students and interacting with people who played sport.
“I had access to a big cricket and rugby field as well as an athletics track to explore and be active.
“My mother was a teacher, so education played a big role in my childhood as well,” said Botes.
At first, it seemed certain he would go on to pursue a career in cricketing.
However, an encounter with qualified chartered accountants (CA) in high school set him on a different path entirely.
“I was inspired by how well educated they came across.
“For me as a religious person, I wanted to become a CA to use the designation for God’s glory.
“I also saw it as a stepping stone to give back and be that motivation to my community,” Botes said.
After graduating from Paarl Boys’ High School in 2006, Botes decided to take a gap year in 2007 and travelled through England.
While abroad, he coached and played cricket at the Northamptonshire-based Oundle Town School and Cricket Club.
It was while he was in England that he first learnt of the Thuthuka Bursary, offered by the SA Institute for Chartered Accountants (Saica).
After qualifying, he was able to enrol for a BCom Accounting degree at Stellenbosch University in 2008.
“The gentleman assisting us with enrolment at the time looked at my application form and said to me I might want to also tick off the BCom general field, because not everybody makes it into the accounting programme.
“That was, in hindsight, my biggest motivation that day,” he said.
This competitive streak followed him throughout university, and helped him achieve a Golden Key Award in his first year for being among the top 15% of students in his course.
Language was a challenge for Botes while studying, but he managed to overcome this.
“Receiving lectures in Afrikaans at Stellenbosch was not easy.
“The textbooks became my greatest guide as well as the relationships built with fellow students to help each other understand lessons.
“I knew I had to go the extra mile and ensure I caught up by the end of the day,” he said.
Botes’ dedication served him well, and he completed his degreee in 2012.
After graduating, he went on to serve his training contract with the Auditor-General SA’s (AGSA) Western Cape branch.
“Going into the corporate world, especially the public sector, was a bit daunting. You have to decide to either be pessimistic, optimistic or change your sails,” Botes said.
Despite his initial nerves, Botes adjusted well to his new position.
So well, in fact, that he was appointed as an assistant auditing manager in 2015.
Eventually, however, Botes decided he needed to make a change and in January 2017, he joined the WPCA as their finance manager.
This eventually led to his promotion to interim CEO.
“It’s an amazing full circle role. It puts a lot of things in perspective.
“For me, the underlying thing is a sense of giving back.
“My philosophy is that when it rains, those who follow in your path can quench their thirst.
“Therefore being a leader at the WPCA is my way of giving back to communities,” Botes said.