“…[I am grateful for] the privilege afforded to me of having a strong foundation like the one Kingswood offered. Seeing women in places of authority matters, gender and ethnic representation matters…” – Ms Lerato Mbombiya OK ‘99
August is Women’s Month and what better way to truly celebrate it than by touching base with a few notable women in our very own Kingswood family.
Today we bring to a close the KC Women’s Month Series that has looked at Old Kingswoodians who have made significant contributions in a variety of spheres since leaving school.
The series has provided us as a Kingswood family with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Kingswood women’s successes and to recognise the importance of women in our society.
As we end the series, we have the privilege of ending our series by profiling Ms Lerato Mbombiya (née Motale) who attended Kingswood College from 1991 to 1999.
After matriculating at Kingswood, Lerato went on to do her undergraduate degree through UNISA majoring in the fields of Gender Development and Research.
She began her career in the shipping industry, more specifically working with Maersk Sealand as a MISE Trainee. Here she was able to travel extensively to all continents (but the Americas) for work and leisure. This intensive line of work eventually took its toll and it was then that she decided to make her more permanent base in South Africa.
The number of companies that she has owned and co-owned has enabled Lerato to continue to travel with her specific focus on clients on the African continent.
More recently, Lerato’s latest venture, Zekhala Charcoal, has led to her being awarded the Business Women’s Association Regional Award for Emerging Entrepreneur in 2019.
She has made a point of using her expertise to educate other small-scale charcoal producers about their trade and has helped them to improve their manufacturing processes to ensure higher yields.
Developing and nurturing the talents of others, is at the heart of what Lerato strives to do.
She feels especially strongly about fair trade with regard to manufacturers and how much they sell their product for on the market. Everyone wants a piece of the pie when you’re in the manufacturing space, but she elieves that we need to find a way to ensure that those pieces are as evenly distributed as possible so that all stakeholders benefit.
Women empowerment is high on her agenda and she looks forward to expanding her business into the Dimbaza Industrial Zone to employ women from the area and to afford them financial freedom and better prospects for their children.
Her life has by no means been a simple one, but hard work, determination and serving others are values that have sustained her. She lives with her husband and three boys in East London.