Read of the Week

Boardroom Dancing

Nolitha Fakude

Pan Macmillan

Review: Lindiwe Mlandu

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies remain a controversial topic in South Africa. Critics argue that they have failed while others simply describe them as reverse apartheid.

As a result, many people do not want to be associated with BEE policies because of this stigma.

However, Nolitha Fakude, who is well respected in the business sector, is proud of being a BEE beneficiary. She believes that without it, she would have never had her successful career.

The former leader of the Black Management Forum (BMF) has written a memoir titled, Boardroom Dancing.

She details her life growing up in the Eastern Cape and her career journey.

She has held various senior positions at Woolworths, Nedbank and Sasol.

She has also served on a number of boards of JSE-listed companies.

Currently, she is group director and chairperson of Anglo American’s management board.

Fakude started her career in Cape Town. She was fortunate enough to work with white men who were pro-transformation.

She recalls an incident at Woolworths when a customer did not want to be helped by her because she was a black person.

One of her white bosses stood up for her and told the customer that Woolworths did not want to be associated with people who practise racial discrimination.

This was huge considering that our democracy was still in its infancy.

This demonstrated to Fakude the importance of affirming your employees.

Fakude spent her 29-year career pushing for the development of women and inclusive workspaces.

She is proud of what she’s achieved but is also critical of herself. For example, she wishes she had spent more time at the BMF in order to intensify the fight to transform South African companies and the economy.

Boardroom Dancing gives us a glimpse into the world of business in our country.

We see the challenges facing women, especially black women, in the workplace.

It’s an inspirational story for those who want to break the glass ceiling.