I am woman.
I am a mother. I am a sister. I am a pillar to many. I am strong, yet
vulnerable. I am an introvert but also an extrovert when situations dictate. I
am woman on a journey, on a divine path. A very creative/visionary/eccentric
person, independent soul and who has her own view and take on life. I strive
for harmony and unity in any environment.
I hail from
the humble beginnings of a small town Umtata, Eastern Cape Province, (South
Africa) where great leaders of my country Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki come
I am the
eldest of 4 siblings, ambitious, visionary woman. I am all these things and
more, but most of all I am Spirit. Aware that there is an inner world that much as
important as the external
one, if not more.
Resilience: I’m graced with the
spirit of resilience despite life’s challenges I have come across, I have
always been able to bounce back from adversity, heal and emerge stronger.
Excellence: Spirit of
Excellence is my modus operandi….Whatever I do, or touch must be done with
excellence. I am not satisfied with subpar performance or effort but demanded
the best from myself as well as from everyone around me. I believe that
excellence is what always distinguishes you from the rest.
Purpose: I believe that I am
woman who is carrying a mandate, I am a woman on an assignment,  that will not make an impact in our generation
but that to come, hence my name Athi – which means in Xhosa – to be an
advocate, a voice for the voiceless, a spokesperson, an oracle” collates with
my destiny.
My two vibrant boys (6 years and 3
years). I think they both came very unexpectedly, at
times in my life where I did not think I could ever love and nurture myself,
let alone another soul. But boy did they teach me things, which I am still
learning to this day.
They taught
me patience and acceptance. With two little boys constantly running around the
house with two very strong but different personalities, you can’t help but be
patient. Every day is a learning curve with them in my life. It is very easy to
meet someone and offer support/a kind word, for they will go on in their
direction. With my boys, they are here with me all the time and there is no
break, no time out. It’s just a never-ending classroom.
But I guess most of all, they are
teaching me gratitude. Looking at their faces everyday full of joy and to know
that somehow I did that, my soul can’t help but open up and beam with gratitude
to the Creator.
My late mother as well, she played
such a big role. She knew her time was limited with us but she ensured that she
equipped us with skills and shaped our mindsets and instilled values in our
So many women from different spheres,
with different qualities who inspire me to do and be great, but I guess the
following are at the top of my mind:
My sister
Tandi Mbete – for her business acumen, I look up to this woman for her
boldness, for stepping into untapped territories and pioneering into ventures
and experiences that some of us in our family never imagined of going into.
Udo Okonjo –
a Lawyer and Real Estate Developer in Nigeria and I admire her for the taking
the Real Estate market in Nigeria into another level.
Folorunsho Alakija – a Nigerian
businesswoman who is the 2nd richest African woman and what I admire
about her is breaking into the oil & gas sector, a field which is dominated
by men.
I am constantly at war between
business and ministry. I always say there are two Athis living inside me. The
business minded Athi who wants to take over the world of business and create
opportunities for those less fortunate, hence where I am right now in the
Recruitment with a core focus on Equity Employment where we assist companies
with Black Economic Empowerment and transformation in the workplace ensuring
that those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, are in the forefront.
. And then there’s also the Minister
in me, the one who just wants to touch the hearts of people and spread messages
of hope and love wherever I go. So all my goals, which are always refined
seasonally, are always based on these two themes.
I have a very dear cousin of mine,
Ayanda Bam who always keeps me accountable and wakes me up when I try and
slack. He is my prayer partner and somehow even without me saying a word, he
always manages to know when I’m not living up to my potential.
I think the biggest challenge is that
we have been taught for far too long where we belong, which roles are suitable
and not suitable for us. With that, we have made unconscious agreements to such
expectations that take years and large amounts of work to break free from.
Even with opportunities being there,
as an African woman you constantly ask yourself, who am I to want to start a
business? What if I fail? What if my husband/partner feels threatened by me?
And so we shy away and give our power away by choosing not to stand out.
And so this is where I come in, not
only wanting to offer women the opportunities available to change their lives,
but first making them understand that they have the right to do and be anything
they want to be. They alone, are enough. I do this through motivational talks
and ministry through my local church.
One of my long term goals is to
establish a Rape Crisis Centre for Women. This is where I believe I would help
shape the lives of those women in need, who find themselves hopeless.
I meditate a
lot. It’s the first thing I do before I wake up and the last thing before I
sleep, if my boys permit LoL.
I also love being surrounded by nature.
There is just an ambiance, serenity and balance about being soaked into God’s
marvelous creation.
Other than that, I enjoy good food and
laughter with my large crazy family. That always leaves me full, in so many
ways than one.
The African Woman has been through so
much. The African Woman is currently going through a lot. We need to be
celebrated, we need to be empowered, for the world’s ills to be dismantled, and
they need a woman- an African Woman.
We are in a crisis and if the African
Woman is not lifted up back to its rightful place, the world will disintegrate.
So many ills have been committed against us. I often think of the story of the
Nigerian Chibok girls and my heart just bleeds.
That is why we need to be inspired,
celebrated and empowered, because we either don’t know how to ourselves, or
have forgotten.
Looking at
where I want to be, looking at issues of Sexual Abuse amongst women and
children would be a top priority.
Right next
to it would be making sure that women are empowered through skills development
and equipping them with agricultural skills enough to provide financial means
for themselves, basically training up women to being self-sufficient. Gone are
those days where women need to wait for men to bring food home. We must
go out there into the marketplace, into the forgotten land, use our hands and
brains and create that which has not been created before. That for me is
We have only
just begun. There is still hope for the African Woman. Get up, go out there and
make something. Get up, go out there and get an education, a skill you can use
to empower yourself. Do not wait for help, it will find you while you’re busy
making it. But maybe above all, we are enough. We do not need validation from
anyone. We can be and do anything we want to.
It’s time for African women to stop
being on the sidelines. It is our duty as African women to accept and take full
responsibility for the change we desire lest we perish as liabilities.

conclusion, African women are Africa’s greatest untapped resource and their
contribution is key to the continent achieving its full potential….It’s time
for African women to arise, become aware of self and come to a realization that
they have potential which we have been hiding for too long…. It’s time for
African women to uncover the gold within, reclaim her inheritance (true potential)
and DAZZLE!!!