African Renaissance Conference  24- 26 May 2018



    Youth Conference Speakers 2014

    Eleanor Potter
    Currently a Management Consultant in the Telecommunications industry, implementing
    tried and tested transformation programmes across the value chain..

    Eleanor was General Manager, Branded Retail Channel for MTN South Africa until September 2013. Starting her career in the hotel industry, Eleanor then worked in management positions in banking before joining MTN as Regional Operations Manager in 1999. From 2001 – 2004 she managed the programme for the franchised Branded Retail Store rollout across Nigeria
    and was a crucial member of the MTN start-up team in this country and a number of MTN other African operations. Following her return to South Africa, she started her own highly successful company, Carnelian Management Services, which consulted to the telecoms industry in South Africa, leading to a natural progression back into MTN in 2010. Today she heads up a team consisting of 1700 people (directly) with another 1500 (indirectly) working
    under her across 500 outlets and 6 call centres in South Africa. In 2008 Eleanor completely conceptualised and developed the MTN Branded strategy which changed the Branded Retail environment from a few service orientated stores to a fully functional retail channel.

    The crux of this change has seen a swing towards ‘Customercentricity’ in a retail environment
    – which covers location, design, systems, people and processes. The most complex being
    an ever changing advanced telecommunications environment in a retail environment with
    young employees au fait with current technology and the challenge of transferring this information
    to the consumer.


    Ryan McFadyen
    He has worked in a traditional marketing role managing a number of top local and international
    brands gaining much success. Having studied at the University of Stellenbosch followed by an Honours degree at the University of Cape Town, he started his career at Adidas.
    Since then he has fulfilled various marketing roles at companies such as Vital Health Foods and Johnson and Johnson.

    His success can be attributed to his passion for innovative marketing strategies and sound business principles. Having worked on the marketing management side he has a good understanding of the needs of brands and companies to drive communication that is effective. Ryan is a founding partner of HaveYouHeard marketing, South Africa’s first specialist wordof- mouth marketing agency. Launched in November 2008, HaveYouHeard has grown from
    strength to strength working with clients such as Vodacom, Brandhouse and Tiger Brands amongst others. Ryan is seen as a major innovator within the South African marketing landscape and will continue to push the boundaries wherever possible.


    Thandekile Jessica Nhleko
    Jessica Nhleko is a Proud child of KwaZulu-Natal and believes in her Country, South Africa, which is alive with possibilities. Most importantly, is positive of the role we can all make for our lovely and rich continent, Africa. Jessica has worked in different roles in the Hotel
    Industry including five Star hotels and smaller boutique hotels and later enjoying sales and marketing in hospitality. She enjoys being a positive influence in all the different roles she represents.

    “Maintain your relationships and give people time remembering that they are unique. Everyone has value to add, and working well with people is critical, no matter what you do. Most importantly stay TRUE to your Passion it will always keep you going!”





    Vuyisa Qabaka
    non-executive and founder director at the South African Black
    Entrepreneurs Forum (SABEF )

    Blogger and Social Entrepreneure. Chief
    Marketer at the CITI. Lives in Africa.
    I use my status updates to inspire the
    nation of changemakers.
    #WDC2014 - The Barn, Cape

    Vuyisa Qabaka has experience in  corporate communications, business innovation, sales and marketing. He considers himself a business leader, connector and an innovator. Vuyisa Qabaka is a non-executive and founder director at the South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum (SABEF), he currently consults in marketing and communications
    for the IT industry in the Western Cape and gives back through various social impact like the Good Neighbourhoods Foundation ( and the School Entrepreneurship Trust ( Having experienced first-hand the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of all manner of
    public- and private-sector schemes aimed at getting new businesses off the ground, Vuyisa has some hard-earned advice for those wanting to start out on their own. First of all, Vuyisa says: 

    1. Be realistic about how long it is going to take to get your business going:
    Business compliance is the basic requirement for starting a business, yet in South Africa, he believes, there are all sorts of unnecessary obstacles to starting a business.
    2. Bureaucracies, according to Vuyisa’s experience, specialise in bureaucracy:
    When you’re looking for funding, spread your net wide, but be aware that time is money and you can spend a great deal of time on applications that are never going to succeed. If you have a hunch
    that someone - or an organisation - is not taking your application seriously, you’re probably right. Don’t invest too much effort in what your hunch tells you is probably going to be a long shot.
    3. Plug into a network:
    As in most spheres of life, Vuyisa recommends using whatever networks you are plugged into - or can plug into. When starting a business, ensure that you join a recognized business chamber or forum, the join fees are worth their weight in networking gold.

    4. Get mentor or coach:
    World class athletes win races because they have coaches or mentors, and to succeed in business you can not achieve results without one. Vuyisa’s Tips for You ӹӹ Business-plan competitions can be
    extremely useful, especially in getting good advice on tightening up your plan - but don’t spike an idea just because it doesn’t get far in such a competition ӹӹ Technology is your friend, use it to gain the competitive edge over the competition 


    • Try to think out of the box, but never forget that somebody invented the box for a reason 



    • Work on your business plan, not so

    much to convince potential investors as to convince yourself that the idea will fly and to find potential gaps that you can plug

    •  Venture capitalists almost always want too big a slice of the action in return for their investment and, unless your idea has to do with computers, the Internet or telecommunications, very few will be interested
    • If you’re young, look to your network, especially your family, to finance your venture
    • Manage your time: do it now, deal with it, delegate it or dump it. Follow the simple principle that “What gets measured, get DONE” - This applies to everything (e-mail, phone calls, meetings and post)


    Vuyisa’s Tips for You

    • Business-plan competitions can be extremely useful, especially in getting good advice on tightening up your plan - but don’t spike an idea just because it doesn’t get far in such a competition
    • Technology is your friend, use it to gain the competitive edge over the competition
    •  Try to think out of the box, but never forget that somebody invented the box for a reason
    • Work on your business plan, not so much to convince potential investors as to convince yourself that the idea will fly and to find potential gaps that you can plug
    • Venture capitalists almost always want too big a slice of the action in return for their investment and, unless your idea has to do with computers, the Internet or telecommunications, very few will be interested
    • If you’re young, look to your network, especially your family, to finance your venture
    •  Manage your time: do it now, deal with it, delegate it or dump it. Follow the simple principle that “What gets measured, get DONE” - This applies to everything (e-mail, phone calls, meetings and post)





    Diving with sharks, cycling, basketball, quad bikes and gym sounds like a description of a very active sportsman –it

    is. However, Cedric Mkhize is exceptional in that he is confined to a wheelchair. Although becoming partially paralysed
    after his T11 and T12 vertebrae and spinal cord were dislocated in a motor car accident in 2007, he has not lost his
    competitive spirit or his ambition to excel. A former and rising star Sharks rugby player, life changed drastically for Cedric
    after he was badly injured in a car crash outside Welkom in 200

    Born and raised in KwaZulu-Natal at Mpumalanga Township in Hammersdale, the 29-year-old is the oldest of seven children. Cedric attended high school at Maritzburg College, where he played on

    the wing for the first team rugby side. He was also a long jumper and a sprinter and the vice -captain of the athletics team.
    After school Cedric joined the Sharks Academy. He debuted for the Sharks in the 2005 Super 14 against the Blues. He scored four tries in five Super 12 outings.
    He also made South Africa proud when he played for the SA Under-21 team that won the world champions in the same year. Mkhize was on loan to Griffons in the Free State when the accident occurred. His determined spirit and positive attitude have carried him through this life changing
    event, to become an inspiration to others. Cedric married his long term fiancée school teacher Lee-Ann, three years ago.
    He is thankful for his wife’s support. “That Lee-Anne stood by me through everything, I don’t know how to put into words what I feel… what she has done for me. A lot of people would have walked away, but she
    stuck by me and I truly appreciate her for that.” The couple were delighted to welcome their daughter, Peyton Leigh, into the world on the 1 April 2014. The baby girl, named was born at Westville Hospital, and weighed 2.68kg. Cedric now has a new life changing event to deal with – being a new Dad.
    Cedric works at Sibaya Casino as a learning and development officer. He is passionately committed to people development and is studying towards a training qualification in Occupationally Directed Education Training Development Practices (OD ETDP). He has found a new sporting passion in
    the form of hand cycling and recently completed the Tour Durban for the second time. Cedric goes into his events with the same passion, enthusiasm and focus that he did when he took to Kings Park in his
    rugby playing days. “Preparing for the races is actually no different to how I used to prepare for the rugby games I played as it is the only way I know how – hard,” he added in a steely tone. “Long term I would like to represent the country on the international stage such as the Paralympics and to become a world
    champion and bring home the gold medal,” said Cedric. The Paralympic goal has taken a bit of
    a knock recently with the set back of a broken leg but with a couple of years until the event Mkhize still has his sights set firmly on being part of the South African contingent that will travel to South America for the event.

    “The goal to get to the Paralympics has not changed from last year and I am still very determined to get there in 2016. I think that making a name for myself locally is going to be important so I hope I can do
    well here and grow from there and then, hopefully, get into the Paralympic team,” Cedric said optimistically. The sport has opened new horizons to Mkhize, who would also like to an ambassador for the sport. He wants to use his profile to champion the sport and raise awareness of the ongoing fundraising drives to purchase more hand cycles. “Life is full of challenges and in order to be successful in life you need to get out of your comfort zone and do what you have to do, to meet the challenge. It is important to look on the bright side and look for the  positive to overcome the challenges.” He
    added, “I use challenges as motivation, by setting goals to achieve they become opportunities to succeed.” Cedric, we salute you!