• Introduce yourself, what you do and summary of successes 

My name is Bongekile Sithole, I was honored by News24 as the 2019 Young Mandela of the future, also got an opportunity to represent SA students at the Global Institute of Internal Auditors Education Partnership Networking Conference held in Florida. 

I graduated for B Tech Internal Auditing (Distinction) at the Tshwane University of Technology and currently practicing as an Auditor. I am also a founder of Bempowered Foundation.

About Bempowered:

Bempowered is a non-profit organisation registered with the Department of Social Development made up of young visionaries (Sharon Msibi, Milly Mpila, Ditebogo Mokhele, Kamogelo Shabangu, Phiwinhlanhla Nkosi, Samkeliso Mahlalela) which aims at improving people’s life through different empowerment initiatives. 

Our upcoming initiative (Nkomazi Empowerment Session) is scheduled for 31 August 2019 where we have invited governmental institutions (The Department of Labour for manual unemployed persons registration on the Department’s database, Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries for career exhibition, Department of Social Development: Women and Children) and other institutions (Tshwane University of Technology Nelspruit for information sharing with aspiring matriculates, RepSpear Clothing – local clothing company) to be a part of our empowerment session.

What is your SPICE4LIFE? That thing that gets you up in the mornings.  

My job as an Auditor allows me to add value in a company’s control environment and Bempowered allows me to contribute positively towards community upliftment through empowerment initiatives. And that gets me up in the morning.

CELEBRATING WOMANHOOD

  • To me celebrating womanhood means revolution and recognition of the great contributions women are making in shaping our country.
  • I believe we need to do this by supporting each other as women and recognizing the greatness in each of us. Accepting the challenges that comes with being a women and eliminating the negative stereotypes attached with being a women.
  • How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you? Bempowered is made up of 90% of woman leaders. Women play a vital role in economic development and when we hold one woman back, we hold the whole nation back. When we empower and support each other, we uplift not only ourselves but our country, and the next generation of women. 
  • For Women’s Day, celebrating equality and access for women, what is the most important message you want to send out?  My advice to women worldwide is to support and empower each other, starting with our basic principles of who we are, our morals, values, integrity. We must be just. Be humble, show togetherness, passion, excellence and enthusiasm towards laying the foundation for our desired progress.

ON A PROFESSIONAL NOTE

  • My dream job, as a kid, was … because …

I have always dreamt of being a teacher when I was younger only because it was the only profession closer to me at the time. As time went by, I dreamt of being an Auditor and dreams do come true 😊

  • I define success as doing what you love and enjoying what you do. 
  • How hard is it to make it to the top? It is never easy mostly because you set standards for yourself. The disappointment that comes with failure to live up to your standards can be draining and demotivating, but you got to still show up and push even harder.
  • How does one create a supportive environment at home to support your ultimate professional success? 

Haha😊I think coming from a family of 8 as a 3rdborn who finished school, varsity, started working first, and had to take responsibilities as a breadwinner it would be difficult to answer this question. 

  • What are the trade-offs that I will need to make? Is it all worth it? 

Time. I barely have time to do anything. I spend most of my time working, studying and at church. Yes, definitely worth it. Luckily my friends understand the time constraint. 

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

  • The best decision I have ever made was choosing to accept who I am and what I have. And making the best out of the little I have.
  • The worst decision I have ever made was… Thankfully I wouldn’t call any of my decision a worst one or even a wrong one. My personal opinion is that a decision already made should not be regretted on. I make decisions based on what I think is best for me at a specific moment and if it affects me badly, I consider it a mistake and “move on”. 
  • My best ‘switch off’ strategy is knowing that my family is okay😊

WHAT INSPIRES ME

  • The leadership qualities I most admire arebeing led by a vision, being innovative, patient, committed, having a passion, being able to inspire and empower others.
  • The woman that inspires me is …because…

I believe in life we all have our own unique path, a different set of privileges and life experiences, I have a number of women role models. However, I have always been inspired by my own womanhood journey. Having a childhood that is very humbling, and still fighting my way up inspires me. I look at myself in the mirror very often and wonder “how did I get here”? I am grateful to God for giving me strength to try harder each day regardless of yesterday’s disappointments.

  • My life’s motto is to try one time, the second time, and if I still fail to try again the 3rdtime. 

A MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN

  • I think the most significant barrier to female leadership is… the negative stereotypes about women in leadership and the implicit biasness which cloud judgement on the capabilities of women.
  • My top three tips for women are…
  • Being a woman is notdefined by how you look. 
  • You may think that your problems are bigger but there are people going through much bigger problems than yours and they are still choosing to survive. Whatever you are going through, talk about it and find help. 
  • The world does not owe you anything, don’t wait for something to happen, go out there and hustle!! Never depend on anyone else to make your dreams come true.
  • What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age? 

Lack of oneness / unity amongst each other. 

LIVING A LEGACY

  • My personal message to the world is… life is meaningless if you don’t make the best out of what you have. Aim to thrive through difficulties, the perfect moment will find you along the way.
  • I believe support/giving back to the community is important because…I believe this is a very important thing one can do, mostly in disadvantaged communities in order to positively contribute towards closing the big gap between the poor and rich, eliminating socio‐economic challenges (inequality and joblessness).

The world does not owe you anything, you owe yourself everything you aspire for. Go out there and make it happen.

Publications:

*2019 Young Mandela of the Future: https://mandela100.news24.com/bongekile-sithole/index.html

*Global Institute of Internal Auditors: https://global.theiia.org/edu-events/Academic%20Relations%20Documents/AR-May-2016-Sithole-Student-Profile.pdf

*Our Beat Volume 1: http://www.ourbeattut.co.za/2016/vol1no4/phone/index.html#p7_m

*LinkedIn account: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bongekile-sithole-069376102/

*Bempowered Facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/pg/Bongekilesitholeorg/community/?ref=page_internal

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