Today on Phenomenal Woman, we feature the First Black Female chartered accountant in South Africa, who went on to establish Gobodo Incorporated, which is now one of the Big Five accounting firms in South Africa alongside the likes of KPMG. Nonkululeko is now recognized for her contribution in developing young people and young black women in the industry. Nonkululeko Gobodo is the Chief Executive of Nonkululeko Leadership Consulting, and the founder of Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo, an audit, advisory and forensic services consultancy. She also serves on the board of Mercedes Benz SA.
Nonkululeko Gobodo grew up in Mthatha working in the family brick-laying business from an early age. At the time, she had lots of role models in business in the Transkei that provided lots of inspiration to her. Nonkululeko had a dream of starting her own accountancy firm one day. At the time when she wrote the exam to qualify to be a chartered accountant, Nonkululeko never thought that she would be the first black female to pass the exam because there were others who wrote the exam before her. However, on the following day, it was all over the newspapers, magazines and the TV stations that she was the first black woman to become a chartered accountant.
According to Nonkululeko: “I had a dream to one day start my own firm.” There were many offers that she declined in pursuit of her personal dreams, although disappointment from others spiraled around, Nonkululeko Gobodo was motivated and inspired by her vision.
“When people come to you discouraging you to start up something, they become fearful for you such that even my own father was afraid for my sake as well as discouraged, how can you take such a risk, but I didn’t give up, but I realised soon enough that they were just expressing their own fear, you need to tell that you are not going into business to fail, I am going into business to succeed, now look at where my firm is today”
One of the major issues she faced in her journey to establishing her company was the ethical issues; she says “Chartered accountants are really big with ethics”, as such these issues seemed to pose as a problem for her but she never gave up, she never let the fears of others for her get to her and she finally has the results she so wanted today. She is very inspired to establish young people that she trains and makes into able chartered accountants; she trains and produces about 100 young people in one year. Her advice to young people is
“Stop believing those lies about black people, my passion is really to see economic transformation in Africa, and I want us to start taking responsibility for our own transformation, this is what I did to make myself a success, you need to take the first step to transformation, don’t wait for government to do something, you do something!”