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Woman Are Not Stepping Up To The Plate

A childhood epiphany, in her father’s company, inspired Nonkululeko Gobodo to make history.

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It was a golden childhood for Nonkululeko Gobodo in the natural beauty of South Africa’s Transkei amid the love and encouragement of successful business-owning parents. While her school friends played in the sun, Gobodo spent countless hours poring over the books of the family business. Her father wanted her to be a doctor; her love was numbers and the catalyst was just around the corner.

One clear Transkei morning, a group of black auditors came to look over the books. They were working for Wiseman Nkuhlu, who in 1977, became the first black South African to qualify as a chartered accountant. This was rare in apartheid South Africa, where education and professions were the preserve of whites.

On that day, Gobodo decided that was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life and went to break the news to her father. He asked her what the highest attainable level of education in the field was and said: “That is what you will do.”

“My father always wanted his children to be free-thinkers,” she remembers.

There was no stopping Gobodo after that. She tore through her education and became South Africa’s first black woman chartered accountant in 1987.

Gobodo landed her first job at KPMG fairly easily, but working was far from easy. In those days, the big clients were reserved for her white, male colleagues. It meant she had to persuade her bosses to give her a chance.

More than 20 years later, Gobodo chuckles with embarrassment as she tells of a senior, white, male colleague who had to resign after she had taken every client in his portfolio. It led to the company offering Gobodo a partnership, but she turned it down to start her own practice. It wasn’t easy. One of her first clients, an Afrikaner at the Bank of Transkei, told her to get out because he was not prepared to do business with her. The next day he refused to see her. On the third day, Gobodo walked into the man’s office, closed the door behind her and demanded that he speak with her. He did.

There were many other difficulties. Although her practice grew, black-run businesses were still very much excluded from the lucrative, largely white-run private sector. Most of these fledgling firms leaned heavily on government business.

It didn’t stop Gobodo and she prospered on the way to overseeing a merger to create Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo, South Africa’s largest black-owned auditing firm, of which she is the executive chair.

Gobodo sees her employees struggle with the same battles she endured decades ago. Surprisingly, she claims that women are reluctant to step up to the plate. They want flexible hours, in order to be able to make their home and children a priority; they’d rather do consulting, on the side, than pioneer big projects to put themselves in line for a promotion. They don’t seem to be able to make the sacrifices she once made, she says.

Her calm exterior is shaken for a moment. Gobodo pauses, looking pensive as she tells of having to leave her one-month-old child at home in order to prove her mettle at work.

“Humanity needs to go back to the drawing board,” she says.

“Raising future leaders is a responsibility; it is important to add value to the lives of others as we rise.”

Dressed in a sunshine yellow jacket, with a smile that could power a small town, Gobodo doesn’t appear the iron-fisted maiden she clearly must have been to make it in the often treacherous corporate world.

“I’ve had skirmishes where people have tried to undermine my leadership, but I’ve also put them in their place, and they’ll never forget it… they never forget it,” she emphasizes.

We’ll take her word for it.

Biography

Born on October 10, 1960, Gobodo started her career as a junior lecturer at the then University of Transkei, now Walter Sisulu University.

She left to begin her articles with KPMG in the Mthatha office. She joined the Transkei Development Corporation (TDC) as senior manager of finance. She left TDC in 1992 to start an accounting practice. She had a vision to start a medium-sized black accounting firm, as opportunities opened up after the 1994 elections, and founded Gobodo Inc with a group of partners in 1996.

“The accounting profession needs another big player other than the big four (Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and Ernst & Young). We intend multiplying the firm in terms of number of staff and revenue within a short space of time. It will be the new house for black professionals.”

– Nonkululeko Gobodo, April 14, 2011, announcing the merger to form her present company

She has won awards too

Cape Town, 17 May 2012: Two South African women took top honors at the prestigious Oliver Empowerment Awards, as they were named the Top Black Business Leader of the Year and the Top Black Entrepreneur of the Year.

Nonkululeko Gobodo, South Africa’s first black, woman chartered accountant walked off with Top Black Business Leader of the Year and Sibongile Maseko, founder of Bongi-M Construction, received the Top Entrepreneur of the Year accolade.

Entrepreneurs

From The Arab World To Africa

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Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi; image supplied

In this exclusive interview with FORBES AFRICA, successful Dubai-based Emirati businesswoman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi, shares some interesting insights on fashion, the future, and feminism in a shared world.

Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi wears many hats, as an artist, architect, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She currently serves as the CEO of Paris London New York Events & Publishing (PLNY), that includes a magazine and a fashion house.

She runs Velvet Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication in the Gulf founded in 2010 that showcases the diversity of the region home to several nationalities from around the world.

In this recent FORBES AFRICA interview, Hend, as she would want us to call her, speaks about the future of publishing, investing in intelligent content, and learning to be a part of the disruption around you.

As an entrepreneur too and the designer behind House of Hend, a luxury ready-to-wear line that showcases exquisite abayas, evening gowns and contemporary wear, her designs have been showcased in fashion shows across the world.

The Middle East is known for retail, but not typically, as a fashion hub in the same league as Paris, New York or Milan. Yet, she has changed the narrative of fashion in the region. “I have approached the world of fashion with what the customer wants,” says Hend. In this interview, she also extols African fashion talent and dwells on her own sartorial plans for the African continent.

In September, in Downtown Dubai, she is scheduled to open The Flower Café. Also an artist using creative expression meaningfully, she says it’s important to be “a role model of realism”.

She is also the author of The Black Book of Arabia, described as a collection of true stories from the Arab community offering a real glimpse into the lives of men and women across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

In this interview, she also expounds on her home, Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE and the region’s educational hub. “A number of successful entrepreneurs have started in this culturally-rich emirate that’s home to 30 museums,” she concludes. 

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Kim Kardashian West Is Worth $900 Million After Agreeing To Sell A Stake In Her Cosmetics Firm To Coty

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In what will be the second major Kardashian cashout in a year, Kim Kardashian West is selling a 20% stake in her cosmetics company KKW Beauty to beauty giant Coty COTY for $200 million. The deal—announced today—values KKW Beauty at $1 billion, making Kardashian West worth about $900 million, according to Forbes’estimates.

The acquisition, which is set to close in early 2021, will leave Kardashian West the majority owner of KKW Beauty, with an estimated 72% stake in the company, which is known for its color cosmetics like contouring creams and highlighters. Forbes estimates that her mother, Kris Jenner, owns 8% of the business. (Neither Kardashian West nor Kris Jenner have responded to a request for comment about their stakes.) According to Coty, she’ll remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.

Earlier this year, Kardashian West’s half-sister, Kylie Jenner, also inked a big deal with Coty, when she sold it 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The deal left Jenner with a net worth of just under $900 million. Both Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty are among a number of brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Huda Beauty and Glossier, that have received sky-high valuations thanks to their social-media-friendly marketing. 

“Kim is a true modern-day global icon,” said Coty chairman and CEO Peter Harf in a statement. “This influence, combined with Coty’s leadership and deep expertise in prestige beauty will allow us to achieve the full potential of her brands.”

The deal comes just days after Seed Beauty, which develops, manufactures and ships both KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, won a temporary injunction against KKW Beauty, hoping to prevent it from sharing trade secrets with Coty, which also owns brands like CoverGirl, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. On June 19, Seed filed a lawsuit against KKW Beauty seeking protection of its trade secrets ahead of an expected deal between Coty and KKW Beauty. The temporary order, granted on June 26, lasts until August 21 and forbids KKW Beauty from disclosing details related to the Seed-KKW relationship, including “the terms of those agreements, information about license use, marketing obligations, product launch and distribution, revenue sharing, intellectual property ownership, specifications, ingredients, formulas, plans and other information about Seed products.”

Coty has struggled in recent years, with Wall Street insisting it routinely overpays for acquisitions and has failed to keep up with contemporary beauty trends. The coronavirus pandemic has also hit the 116-year-old company hard. Since the beginning of the year, Coty’s stock price has fallen nearly 60%. The company, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in the year through June 2019, now sports a $3.3 billion market capitalization. By striking deals with companies like KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, Coty is hoping to refresh its image and appeal to younger consumers.

Kardashian West founded KKW Beauty in 2017, after successfully collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics on a set of lip kits. Like her half-sister, Kardashian West first launched online only, but later moved into Ulta stores in October 2019, helping her generate estimated revenues of $100 million last year. KKW Beauty is one of several business ventures for Kardashian West: She continues to appear on her family’s reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, sells her own line of shapewear called Skims and promotes her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Her husband, Kanye West, recently announced a deal to sell a line of his Yeezy apparel in Gap stores.

“This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas,” Kardashian West told Forbesof her various business ventures in 2016. “I don’t see myself stopping.”

Madeline Berg, Forbes Staff, Hollywood & Entertainment

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Entrepreneurs

Covid-19: Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Cinemas Among Businesses That Will Operate Again In South Africa As Ramaphosa Announces Eased Lockdown Restrictions

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation announcing that the government will further ease the country’s lockdown restrictions.

Restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas are among the businesses that will be allowed to operate again in South Africa.

The country is still on lockdown ‘Level 3’ of the government’s “risk adjusted strategy”.

President Ramaphosa also spoke on the gender based violence in the country.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and the girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country. The killing of women and children by the men of our country. As a man, as a husband, and as a father to daughters, I am appalled at what is no less than a war that is being waged against the women and the children of our country,” says Ramaphosa.

Watch below:

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