College of Law and Management Studies lecturers, Ms Hlengiwe Ndlela and Dr Nomkhosi Luthuli, are leading from the front as they recently participated in the 2019 Forbes Woman Africa Leading Women Summit that took place at the Durban ICC.

The Summit celebrates, connects and empowers women from around the continent in leadership, business, sports, entertainment and science sectors. Visionaries, builders, innovators and connectors shaping the female narrative on the continent are brought together to address today’s pressing issues by raising powerful questions that seek to drive progress within their respective areas.

The summit, now in its fourth year, instigated ideas and inspired attendees through a candid exchange of ideas, talks and panel sessions around the 2019 theme The New Wealth Creators.

Luthuli and Ndlela got to rub shoulders with headline speaker, Naomi Campbell, and other amazing women who spoke at the event including Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Simidele Adeagbo, Noëlla Coursaris Musunka and Gugulethu Mfuphi.

Ndlela was invited by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government to be a panelist for her role as the Thuthuka Bursary Fund Programme Manager and one of the youngest female CAs in the country; while Luthuli was invited by Forbes Woman Africa Editor to speak on her research interests and journey towards obtaining her doctorate.

Both academics were part of a panel titled South Africa’s Young Intellectuals which was moderated by Ukhozi FM’s Nongcebo McKenzie.

Ndlela shared the statistics of CAs in the country, how there is a shortage of female African CAs and how as the manager of Thuthuka through the SAICA/UKZN partnership the main goal is to produce more African CAs through mentorship, networking opportunities, extra academic support, fitness education, financial and social support.

The students she works with have shown immense dedication towards the programme. She shared how while everyone celebrated love on Valentine’s Day, they went out to a high school in Umlazi to celebrate and share their love for mathematics with the learners.

Luthuli talked on the burning issue of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and the many challenges that it brings, especially with the conversation of economic development.

In her area of research, the biggest challenges arise because of the lack of skills needed under the 4IR, which is why she feels that the uptake of the digital age requires that government to prioritise the upskilling of the African mind so that the inventions and innovations of the industrial revolution can be adapted to with great ease.

‘I absolutely loved being around so many great women who are champions and pioneers in their different fields. I was inspired, motivated but also challenged and my dreams were affirmed and validated with each passing speaker or presenter,’ said Luthuli.

Both women consider it a great privilege to be part of a group that is working towards changing demographics.

‘We are young educated women, doing well in our respective fields and we have a shared responsibility to show other young women that it can happen for them too,’ said Luthuli and Ndlela

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Supplied