Congratulations to the Class of 2020

Look in the mirror, at the person staring back at you. If there’s any dialogue to have at this moment, it would be with you. The one who could write a book on what the year has been…

You’ve navigated the unprecedented. The carpet seemingly being pulled under your feet to expose a foundation that questions your very concept of being grounded. You couldn’t have prepared for what came. Our country – the world, battling with the same; a pandemic. Amidst uncertainty with masks querying everything familiar, yet you were there. Yet, you showed up. 

Many have had to navigate the faceless. From attempting to swim against the current to navigating your very own tides that welled up within. With the latter being a place of conversation and vulnerability. Some had to carry the loss of loved ones, the loss of employment in their family settings; while others navigated watching their peers or family members fighting with Covid-19.  With the times calling for less contact, it is unimaginable that this journey could have felt any more lonely. Yet you chose to keep your vision even though the sight was dim.

With a lack in resources, in the harshest of environments, many had to look at the giants that stood in their way and find the strength from within to get to their destinations. It could not have been easy.

It has been a lot.

Against all odds, you showed up. The dedication you carried on your shoulders each day speaks volumes. Count yourself in as you face the person in the mirror.  Look at where you’ve come from; what you had to conquer.

Class of 2020, we’d like to say a huge Congratulations! Remember this…  Your future is written with the same kind of pen…against all odds you shall BE!

Womandla Mentorship Team

African Angels Academy

Join the African Angel Academy Info Day at 3pm today! To promote a culture of Africans investing in Africans, the International Tech Hub network is giving 45 Kenyan, South African and UK-based experienced professionals or new angels the opportunity to join the African Angel Academy in January 2021.

The programme is delivered through an online course that draws on the experience of ten top angel investors and is complemented by masterclasses from local experts and angels, as well as virtual networking sessions and a start-up showcase.

An information session will be held on 25 November 2020 from 15:00 (SAST). Go to to register.

For more information ,or to apply for a spot in the programme, go to

Grow My Business Masterclass returns

The Grow My Business Africa Masterclass is back for the second running and will take place virtually AND physically in Cape Town.

The concept of the Masterclass stems from an Entrepreneur’s frustration of leaving a workshop or business conference inspired, but without deliverables, actionable steps or practical tools to apply in their business.

The objective is not to just inspire SMME’S and emerging entrepreneurs or professionals, but to EDUCATE them and provide tools that they can apply in their business or careers by means of a workbook.

Each attendee receives a Tailored Workbook on:

-Business Growth Strategies


-Finance and Funding

It gets depressing to work hard and have nothing to show for it. Join us as we learn from marketer, Sbusiso Kumalo, and Leaveil de Fountain from Allan Gray, on how to better position your business for Growth, financial literacy and how to access funding.

Dont’t miss it! Book your tickets here:

Follow Grow My Business Africa on Facebook


4IRCARE and CliniMed have joined forces to support women fighting against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The event takes on an expo form to educate people about all things health and to raise funds for safe houses, shelters and homes.

4IRCARE is a tech-based platform which provides affordable and innovative virtual access to private health practitioners, virtual pharmacies and virtual consultations.

Clinimed is a private healthcare facility that offers primary medical care, dental health care, wellness programmes, optometry and aesthetic solutions.

We have identified your company as a partner in the health industry and would like to offer you an opportunity to exhibit at the Expo.

For more information, email:

MANCOSA – Women’s Leadership Webinar 2020

Join the annual MANCOSA Women’s Leadership Webinar in Partnership with Aspire Solutions on the 3rd October from 10am to 11am via Zoom (link will be sent through once your ticket has been purchased) for a morning filled with women empowering women, the current Gender-based Violence epidemic, parenting during the pandemic, as well as success stories and the journey of our amazing panel of speakers!

Here with the Quicket link for ticket purchasing:

The line-up for the event:

MC, TV presenter, and actress – Ayanda Dlamini

Business Director – Mushfiqoh Samodien

Founder and Director of Womandla Foundation – @sam_gqomo

Occupational Therapist and specialist in Parenting – Nasreen Cariem

Keeping the best for last, the talented musician and performer – Ashur Petersen will be keeping you all entertained with his artistry.

Gift boxes to the value of R500, filled with amazing items from various sponsors! These boxes will either need to be collected from one of the MANCOSA centers or couriered.




Fearless Mondays series for women in entrepreneurship #SEW2020

#SEW is an annual national program aimed at raising awareness of entrepreneurship as a career, as well as emphasising the benefits of having the best of both worlds as a student and an entrepreneur.

This year, #SEW2020 will be hosting a webinar series which will focus on various issues faced by women entrepreneurs  within the  entrepreneurship space so as to align with Women’s Month. 

Our Founding Director, Sam Gqomo, has been chosen as one of the speakers and will be addressing the concept of IKIGAI – How to link your passion to your purpose – Strategies for bringing your Vision to Life – How to create your business strategy for Impact Work.

The webinars will be a 5-part series which will be held every Monday afternoon from 4pm to 5pm.

Register today by clicking on the link  and complete the #SEW2020 attendance register.


Grow My Business Masterclass

Join us this Month at the “Grow My Business Masterclass” in partnership with Leseli Creative Communications and Womandla Global Network. About the Masterclass: It is commonplace for entrepreneurs and business leaders to leave a conference feeling inspired, but rarely does one leave a conference with the right tools for change.  The objective of the Grow Your Business Masterclass is to provide you with deliverables, actionable steps and practical tools to apply to your business.

Along with valuable insight from the keynote speakers, conference attendees will leave with a business manual that was made for this conference only that covers topics such as “How to structure your business for SCALE”, “Organisational Culture” and “Finance and Funding”.  

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Registration Link:

Date: 25 July 2020

Time: 10:00am – 11:45am

Book your spot now!

Live with Batho Mokiti

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Join us LIVE on Instagram this Thursday with Batho Mokiti as she shares HER STORY!

Mmabatho is a mathematician turned impact entrepreneur with a passion for education and youth development. She started a career as an entrepreneur at 20 when she started a tutoring company; Mathemaniacs; while studying at university towards her BSc Mathematics degree, but soon realized that she wanted to serve disadvantaged schools and communities, which is when she decided to approach cooperates to design CSI (Corporate Social Investment/ Responsibility) strategies which invested in bringing quality STEM education to rural and disadvantaged schools so as to get more black learners to study in the STEM industry.

More this Thursday – See you at 12pm SHARP!

Instagram Live: Mental and Spiritual Health during a Pandemic

Join us LIVE TODAY, 6pm, on Instagram as we tackle the subject of Mental Health and Spiritual Health during a Pandemic!

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Our guest is Dr. Alixis Rhodes, psychologist in a men’s correctional facility in California. She also is a co-founder of the “No Black Girl Left Behind’  organization that connects, uplifts , inspires women of color.

Dr. Rhodes is a worldwide traveler that is a true advocate for mental health.

See you later on Instagram!

Real Estate Market Reimagined  

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Real Estate strikes a chord with most South Africans, whether from a personal or professional vantage point. For most citizens, ownership of real estate is often preluded by a long, uphill journey. As more people and businesses are in a position to acquire and develop property, so the job opportunities increase. And livelihoods are directly impacted.

Paper house under a magnifying lensOur STEAM Room guest aptly points this out, stating that activities in the sector become “the catalyst for socio-economic development”. The construction sector, amidst challenges in 2019, employed over 8% of the country’s labour force and output accounted for around 4% of gross domestic product (GDP). The real estate sector on the other hand, together with the finance and business services sectors, significantly contributed to the increase in the country’s real GDP in 2019.

This year has seen the entire economy suffer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This tragedy has also made us relook how we can do business going forward. It has made us reimagine a new normal. We are excited to have Neo Sekhantso, a young and dynamic professional in the real estate sector, shed more light on what the sector has been experiencing.

IMG-20200510-WA0009Tell us about yourself and how you came to be in the property and real estate sector?

I am 33 years old and am a qualified Professional Quantity Surveyor working as a Property/Real Estate Development Manager for one of the largest Asset Management Companies in the Continent. I live and work in Gauteng.

I studied a BSc Construction Studies and a BSc (Honours) in Quantity Surveying at the University of Cape Town between 2005 and 2008. I also completed the SAPOA and UCT GSB Property Development Programme in 2017. To enhance my skills-set and further qualify myself for a move into the asset management space, I completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Business (PDBA) at The Gordon Institute of Business Science in 2019 and then did a short online course in Commercial Real Estate Analysis and Planning with the MIT School of Architecture and Planning. 

I began my career at MLC Cape Town, starting off as a graduate then worked my way to Quantity Surveyor. I then worked at AECOM for five years; first as a Quantity Surveyor in their Cape Town office, before I was promoted to a Senior Quantity Surveyor position and ultimately an Associate Director in their Sandton office. In 2018, I changed disciplines within the Built Environment and started work as a Real Estate Development Manager at an Asset Management company in their Properties Division (Unlisted).

Why this interest in property and real estate?

I firmly believe that infrastructure (roads, railway, dams, bridges, ports, powerplants etc.)  and the Built Environment is the catalyst for socio-economic development. This belief is demonstrated by the fact that when governments want to develop or grow an economy, infrastructure and built environment spending is often increased. In addition, expenditure in this sector creates job opportunities within communities and supplies better facilities for social and commercial use.

What does your typical workday look like?

My role entails Property Development Management from the ideation phase; initial market studies and town planning; feasibility studies and presentation to the relevant internal bodies for project approval; design and construction phases; to the completion and hand over of a property asset (be it a new retail centre or office park) to property asset management teams and/or client(s). Typically, this includes the management of design teams including Project Managers, Quantity Surveyors, Architects, Engineers, and other construction professionals. It also includes being part of a deal team that is involved in the internal approval processes. 

My typical workday involves several meetings and a lot of stakeholder management. Interpersonal communication, writing skills, management skills, and an understanding of technical construction-related matters and real estate finance are key skills required as a Property Development Manager.

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on the real estate sector?

The response to the pandemic has meant different things for the various parts of the real estate market. For developments and construction sites it has meant stalled projects and the shutting down of construction sites locally and abroad. For real estate professionals, it has meant working from home and continuing with design, cost management, and project management for projects on-site and those in the pipeline.

 From a design perspective, there has also been a lot of rethinking and thought leadership. Office spaces, retail, and the built environment must consider our needs post-COVID-19, especially in relation to allowances for space per person to allow for social distancing.  Also to be considered is permanent working-from-home solutions and its effects on the population’s health; the impact of online shopping on brick and mortar stores; and a myriad of other health considerations (AECOM : How Corona Virus May Change the Future of Work, 2020).

 An already ailing construction industry has felt the impact of the pandemic. The socio-economic impact of the shutting down of construction sites of urgently required bulk infrastructure and facilities for communities will be alleviated somewhat by the new local Level 4 lockdown conditions which will allow some key projects to continue.

Which measures do you think can help the real estate sector recover? What steps can be taken by the key stakeholders?

This is a very complex question and it requires a multi-pronged and well thought out and researched solution. However, based on my observations and readings, the following interventions will be required in the short term (the next 6 to 12 months).

Construction sites need to strictly comply with the regulations and guidelines as set out by the Department of Labour and Health. Furthermore, Health and Safety plans and protocols will have to be reviewed to include measures for preventing and containing communicable diseases. Landlords, retailers, manufacturers, etc. need to be particularly vigilant and provide the necessary screening and personal protective equipment (PPE) required to ensure that infections are kept low.

 Government has already thought through the re-opening of all industries in a phased manner, considering the impact on the economy and the risk profile of each industry. Industry leaders and the government must continue working together in ensuring the survival of the industry and the safekeeping of human lives during this period.

In the long term, there may be a shift in thinking around the built environment: how people work and learn, and where they work and learn. A shift in the design of office, industrial, learning, healthcare, and retail space; in the thinking around business nodes and their distance from people’s homes; in the spatial and urban design thinking and transportation facilities and the quality thereof from a health and safety perspective (AECOM : How Corona Virus May Change the Future of Work, 2020). There will also be a focus on technologically integrated design to allow remote connection of people, and touchless and remote operation of facilities. 

The Built Environment and Real Estate Market, however, is a resilient one. In my opinion, as long as there are people that need spaces to work, live, learn, heal, etc. the market will rebound in some shape. However, I believe it will not be business as usual and the future may not be what we expect. As an industry and as users of the Built Environment, we need to continue to be proactive and innovative as we have been in the past and adapt to the future.

Many of the ideas and ideals we have been engaging through Fourth Industrial Revolution dialogues these past couple of years are now critical for our survival. We have no choice but to adapt. Many have lost their businesses. Many have lost their jobs. Many have lost their lives.

As we bring our STEAM Room COVID-19 series to an end, we hope you are able to take in the priceless information we have gathered from these discussions with industry insiders and use these nuggets to help us move forward. The STEAM Room will be back with more insightful interviews and relevant topics from more remarkable women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

About the Author

Amandla Kwinana is a strategic content and communications specialist and member of the Womandla Foundation STEAM Committee.    

 About the STEAM Room

The STEAM Room is a space for women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) to explore innovative solutions to the challenges facing our communities and share intriguing stories from their respective worlds. The platform also provides an opportunity for STEAM entrepreneurs to profile their ventures. As with a traditional steam room, women step out of the STEAM Room feeling rejuvenated.