Chancellor's Medal
Photo Credit: Supplied

Nonkululeko Gobodo became the first black female chartered accountant in South Africa and paved an inspiring path for generations to follow. Recently, she won the Chancellor’s Medal as the latest of many achievements:


Pretoria, South Africa (17 April 2024) — “Wherever you are and whichever job or profession you are in, do your part!” These are the words of Nonkululeko Gobodo, South Africa’s first black female chartered accountant who was recently awarded the Chancellor’s Medal (an honour of exceptional achievement) by the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science.

In 1987, Nonkululeko made history when she broke the glass ceiling by earning her CA qualification. Hers was a double-barrier breakthrough—both for South Africa’s oppressed communities, and for a generation of women who suffered under the hand of patriarchal limitations.

As a young schoolgirl, Nonkululeko had helped her father with the bookkeeping for his panel-beating shop in Mthatha. Her natural flair for numbers, coupled with the inspiration she drew from the firm that audited her father’s books (WL Nkuhlu & Co—owned by Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu who was the first black male CA in South Africa) sparked her journey.

In the late 70s, she enrolled at the University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University) where she pursued her BComm before taking the steps to become a CA and history maker.

At a time where black CAs were far and few between, Nonkululeko forged her own path, and even turned down a big partnership opportunity to start her own firm—something she considers one of the proudest moments of her life.

She’s gone on to be instrumental in forming one of the Big Five accounting firms in South Africa, is the CEO of Awakened Global (which tackles racism and prejudice women experience in the workplace) and has published her autobiography—Awakened. Not to mention, Nonkululeko has undoubtedly inspired countless female CAs and leaders across the country.

Unafraid of transparency, Nonkululeko confronts the conflict many women face between pursuing ambitions and wanting to be present for their families. She says:

“I say, you will always make time for your family, but don’t miss the moment—women need to seize this time to get where we should be in all forms of leadership.”

In advice for everyone who feels they need to awaken and begin the journey to their dreams, Nonkululeko offers a powerful take.

“There’s a whole new world waiting for us once we awaken to who we truly are, and once we believe we can achieve anything we set our sights on. And I’m talking about everyone in every field. We can establish our own firms and grow them. We can do whatever we want to do, but whatever we do, we must do our part.” —Nonkululeko Gobodo. 

Sources: Supplied—University of Pretoria 
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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