We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Women’s Month than to give women an opportunity to pose a question to Wendy and tap into her insights and experiences.
Mentorship is a responsibility. I feel my generation has to ensure that the next generation can go much further than we did. – Wendy Luhabe
1. Do you offer your time mentoring others in any of your fields of specialty? And what is your view on the role of mentoring as a form of social investment?
Dear Luleka Haya,
I offer mentorship primarily to guide younger generations with personal /professional development questions and aspirations. For me, mentorship is similar to having a thinking partner,someone who can assist us to think through our options and likely consequences.Someone who wants the best for us and believes in us.I find that most people do not think about the consequences of their choices and decisions until it is too late. Others do not even know that they have choices, that they do not have to allow circumstances to determine their prospects in life. That is why I love to mentor others, I can share my own experience to equip others to make better informed decisions and I can challenge them and stretch them.
So in that respect, I guess yes, mentorship is a form of Social Investment although I have never thought of it that way. It is because Mentorship is about lifting others to their highest potential, and to ensure that future generations grow up to be more courageous and audacious in exploring what is possible. I have accomplished what I have because at different stages of my life, someone believed in me. There is no better investment than someone who believes we are capable of much more than we see for Ourselves.
2. In your opinion, do you think social entrepreneurs are still relevant in South Africa especially considering the tough economic climate?
Yonela Mbana Mkwibiso
Avbob Mutual Assurance Society
Dear Yonela Mbana Mkwibiso,
It depends on your understanding of Social Entrepreneurship. Mine is a profitable enterprise that addresses a social need. For example, about two years ago I invested in Mama Mimi’s (www.mamamimis.co.za), a micro bakery in Communities that trains unemployed people to generate a minimum income of R5000 per month by baking bread for distribution to the local community. Bread is a staple diet in most communities. It is full of chemicals so that it can last as long as possible. It is expensive because it is often baked somewhere else and transported to where it is consumed. Mama Mimis offers freshly baked bread at R2 below the current price and it achieves a number of other very important objectives:
• Community Economic Empowerment
• Sustainable Employment Creation
• Skills Development
• Social Upliftment
• Circulation of money within the Community
So to answer your question, Social Entrepreneurship has never been more relevant and desperately needed as a solution to the chronic economic drought in marginal communities. We should be providing a dynamic and coherent eco-system as a country that can support as many Social Entrepreneurs as possible to change South Africa’s Economic landscape from a culture of entitlement and dependency on government to a culture of self reliance.