WCW: Vuyiswa Mutshekwane

As part of national efforts to celebrate and commemorate the great women of South Africa, past and present, the Finance Gym will be shining a light on 3 of the wonder women that made our FinWomen event a success, by sharing glimpses of the gold they left with us on National Women’s day.

We kick it off this week with none other than a woman that stepped into an industry that is dominated by men, and in it became a transformational leader. Her business genius coupled with a heart for people has earned her wide-ranging recognition and recently led her to being a finalist in the Young Business Leader of the Year category of the 2018 CNBC Africa’s All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA).

At our FinWomen event this year, Vuyiswa revealed that her money muscles didn’t come out of nowhere as the lesson on financial stability in her life started from a young age. She recounted: “Probably one of the first real women to women conversations that I had with my own mother in my early teens… I remember one of the things my mother always insisted, even if I was being taken out on a date by a guy... she’d give me money, and she’d say just make sure that you have your own money. Whatever you order, whatever you eat, whatever you drink, make sure that worse comes to the worse, at least you can pay your own bill.”

She credits such lessons for providing foundational value to the life she’s been able to build as “Economic freedom does not begin with some politicians giving it to you but it begins instead with the daily habits we take, to prioritise our own economic freedom.” she added,

having once found herself at a point of homelessness and in debt, she realised that only personal understanding of financial concepts and practices such as credit, buying shares, and equity is not only for accountants but that with the right education, one could take control of their economic freedom wherein lies personal freedom.

With a renewed mind, she went on to start what is today a multi-million Rand revenue business with only R250 and has not looked back since. By having the boldness to start small, and grow with time, she trained her financial muscles to complement her empowered mind, and so she encourages people to engage in practices that train them and their money management skills.

A visionary leader

What’s true about every leader is that they are a source of value to those they serve, and this phenomenal leader’s vision is to see a national economy that is representative of our demographic. She champions this from the property industry as the CEO of the South African Institute for Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP), and engages the players in the 6 trillion rand industry, especially encouraging black youth to not just limit themselves to ownership and purchase of property, but to spread their wings and partake in the industry as property brokers and managers in property finance, the built environment and other parts of a value chain.

Dream big, start small, become a “Rich Man”

Just as her mother instilled in her habits for financial independence, she aims to inspire other women to overcome their own challenges, become #GirlsWithPropertyAndTitleDeeds, and more. In a recent interview with Property 360 she said:

“If I am honest, many of the challenges I’ve encountered have been self-inflicted. I sold myself short, settled for less than I was worth, and said yes when I meant no. I did not believe I was worthy of certain opportunities and did not fight for what I wanted.”

She has since exemplified the importance of confidence, personally and professionally. Without this strong sense of self and self-worth, anyone let alone women, may find it difficult to make their mark in the most hostile spaces. When it comes to our finances, I think we can draw some inspiration from Vuyiswa because it takes confidence to start engaging with financial literacy. It takes personal impetus to commit to being one’s own “rich man”, as opposed to waiting for Prince Charming to come and rescue us from financial distress. This past Sunday at our Women’s Day event entitled “I Am Rich Man”, Vuyiswa added that as women “We cannot pray our financial situations away” Rather, we need to consciously endeavour to stand confident enough to know that we can act and equip ourselves with tools to manage our finances, engaging with books, podcasts, blogs, and information about personal finances that can be put into practice.

Looking at her journey though, we are reaffirmed in the belief that when you give yourself a yes, yes to opportunities, yes to learning, yes to taking hold of your finances, and yes to training your money muscles, the trajectory of your life changes. If you don’t believe us, just look at Vuyiswa’s journey and you will see the possibilities.

Stay posted on our social media on Facebook and Instagram, as in the coming weeks we’ll bring you the other two guests from our FinWomen event (Amanda John and Itumeleng Barnard), and many more of the people we get to look up to on the journey to financial freedom through financial literacy for all.

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