By Fiona Wakelin & Charndre Emma Kippie
Composed of two Zulu terms, ‘Siyakha – meaning, building or creating” and “Umnotho – meaning, wealth or the economy”, Sakhumnotho is a company geared towards giving back to communities whilst uplifting the South African economy, Africa and the world.
South Africa based, Pan-African investment holding company, Sakhumnotho Group Holdings (Pty) Ltd., has thrived year in and year out – since 2000 – as a diversified investment firm with interests in financial services, mining, property, oil and gas, education, surveillance and security systems, ICT, document storage, aviation and other strategic sectors.
Under the wing of Founder and Executive Chairman, Prof. Sipho Mseleku, and the guidance of the Head of Energy, Bradley Cerff, Sakhumnotho has continuously invested in the experience, track record and sound management of well-run businesses, prioritising minorities and influencing decision-making to accelerate the growth of enterprises.
Big On Impact
Born and raised in the East Rand township known as Katlehong, in Gauteng, Prof. Mseleku attributes his strong work ethic and unique business acumen to his God-fearing parents and Christian family upbringing. “My parents brought us up, as children, in prayer, the church, and with an overall Christian orientation. This became a big part of our lifestyle. And I thank God that I was brought up by such a great family, and with such great parents”, says Mseleku. Today, Prof. Mseleku has ingrained his faith and values into the foundation and upholding of Sakhumnotho, making it a “God-centred organisation”. Thus, the company is underpinned by the notion of “From self to others”.
Mseleku puts forth that the company’s largest focus remains on ‘impact’, and making a positive influence on society and communities in South Africa. At the forefront, business facilitation, entrepreneurial education, mentorship and training, and youth development are of highest importance for the organisation. Through the Global School of Entrepreneurship (GBSE) and Global Business Roundtable (GBR), the Sakhumnotho Group remains dedicated to the creation of conducive environments needed for SMEs to flourish across the continent.
“We’re very big on impact. We [Sakhumnotho] believe that the very reason for our existence, as a company, is to make an impact in the lives of many people. Through global organisations, we’ve impacted millions of people around the world, and our future is about those organisations. We exist as a business to support those organisations – to see the lives of many people change and to see them contribute meaningfully to the economy”, explains Mseleku.
“Consistently, over the past eleven years, we’ve invested more than R200 million supporting the work of the Global Business Roundtable, The Global Fund for Jesus, the expansion programmes across the globe, the activities and the events, TV programmes, leadership academy”, Mseleku continues. “ To see many lives transformed has been very rewarding”.
- Quick adaptation
- Good team and great work ethic
- Strong unity
- Strong investment teams
- Give as much as we can
- Understanding that ‘for every seed there is a harvest’
- We put God first
Secrets to success
As a seasoned business professional and academic, Prof. Mseleku holds many titles and has contributed to multiple sector Boards, both public and private – at national and international levels. With an impressive background as a business expert, he is the immediate past President of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, representing commerce and industry from all 46 African countries. Mseleku is highly passionate about African business, and feels strongly about intra-African trade.
In 2009, he established the Global Business Roundtable, of which he is the Convener, which has a significant impact in almost 60 different countries. Prof. Mseleku also holds multiple academic qualifications, namely, BA (Hons), LLB, LLM (Tax Law), and H.Dip Company Law – all of which was obtained at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg. Mseleku is also a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, and an Admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa. Additionally, Mr. Mseleku is the chairman of the Global Fund for Christ – uplifting the disadvantaged through education, health, infrastructure development, poverty alleviation, food security and employment creation programmes.
When asked about all the success he has achieved thus far, Prof. Mseleku explains that he maintains an understanding of personal success that is “not quite traditional”.
“Personal success, to me, is just making a difference in other people’s lives, living for a purpose, and understanding why you exist – why God created you”, he expresses. “Once you find your meaning, you begin to succeed in life”.
When it comes to facing hurdles in all spheres of his life, Prof. Mseleku’s approach is to “have faith, trust and hope in God”. He emphasises that it is prayer which assists him with focus and resilience which retains his drive to succeed and overcome obstacles. “Try to focus on transforming one additional life per day”, he urges. “When you’re confronted with hurdles and bad situations, you need to focus and be persistent – do not lose focus of your purpose”.
With such drive and commitment to all pillars of life, it’s no surprise as to why Prof. Mseleku was just recently appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the College of Economics and Management Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He will be inspiring and teaching young students, as a guest expert, providing industry insight and key thought leadership ideas.
Conquering Covid strategically
As the pandemic has had negative effects on all businesses worldwide, Mseleku explains that as a diversified investment holdings company, Sakhumnotho has investments in many sectors (including mining, energy, real estate, ICT, agriculture etc.) which felt the pain of Covid-19, for the 2019-2020 period. However, most of these sectors are bouncing back and making a great recovery.
“It [Covid-19] did, however, create opportunities amidst these challenges, in that we had to adapt quickly, learn new ways of doing business, and we became more efficient in terms of using our time to focus on business”, explains Prof. Mseleku.
Mseleku shares that despite Sakhumnotho being ‘cushioned’ by all it’s diversified investments, pain was felt and many had to pivot.
“In business, if the first approach doesn’t work out, take a different approach, and know when to move on and work towards something else”, he encourages.
Prof. Mseleku is excited about the road ahead for the Sakhumnotho Group, indicating that the focus will still be on making a significant, positive impact on people, despite taking a knock during this pandemic. At present, there are plans put in place for better integration, reaching 200 nations through new projects and initiatives, and facilitating a training camp geared towards ‘linking people to opportunities and mentors’.
Prof. Mseleku’s investment advice for Africa
- We will see a trend in investment in innovative start-ups, from real transformers and change-makers.
In order to truly invest in SMEs, we need to have training and entrepreneurship introduced in schools from as early as grade 8.
- Green Energy is the future: Renewable Energy Investment in South Africa is on the rise.
Fintech is going to be big, globally, and is one of the biggest ‘future industries’ that we need to be following carefully.
- Society needs to prepare for ‘meaningful participation’ in the economy.
BBEE must be made more impactful: we need to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit.
We also need to prioritise inclusivity in terms of jobs and social impact projects.
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