Education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development: This is what drives Mpho to achieve inclusive and quality education for all.
Mpho Manyisa has a stellar list of achievements. From being part of Cosmopolitan South Africa’s 25 Under 25 next generation of fierce women making their mark in Africa list (2019) to being a McKinsey Next Generation Women leader finalist. But her main drive is to initiate tangible change through her involvement in various initiatives. Manyisa says she is passionate about education and the development of young people. As a candidate fellow mentor at the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, she engages with emerging young leaders to enable them to be future high-impact and responsible entrepreneurs in the country. She has also been selected as a One Young Ambassador to be part of the SAICA & Chartered Accountant Worldwide Finance & Business Task Force with an aim to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Her work there focuses on achieving inclusive and quality education for all, reaffirming the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development.
She says she is a woman now because she had the opportunity to be guided by strong women.
“I believe that empowered women empower women, and having women who believed in me and my potential made me a much stronger woman. I now realise that my responsibility and role in other women’s lives is equally important to ensure a culture of empowered, strong women,” she says.
But she is dismayed about how women are treated in the country in the workplace and at home. She says the statistics related to gender-based violence are horrific.
This can be changed, she says, by creating platforms where uncomfortable issues and topics are raised and discussed within our communities and societies, helping to normalise the voices of victims.
“This should be followed up by action plans to respond to these issues women face. The public and private sectors have a role to play and need to be more accountable for the issues women in our country face.”
Manyisa says that growing up in two different worlds was a challenge for her. She was raised in a township in Johannesburg and attended an IEB private school for 14 years. Although difficult in the beginning, the experience has shaped the woman she is today.
“My self-discovery began at a young age because of cultural disparities, but being brought up by a strong-willed woman, I was able to be self-aware, which assisted my growth in this journey,” she says.
She lives by a quote by Victor Frankl: “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
She says she believes that a person’s circumstances don’t determine their future, and if they live with purpose, they can achieve the impossible.