In support of our country’s Constitution, the Council actively made work of involving women of all ethnicities and belief systems. In 2010, Thelma Mathamelo became the first black President. Since then, a multitude of black business women has seen the value of joining the Council and are also part of the current leadership.
In an article by Pholo Human Capital (Pty) Ltd, they wrote: “Thelma Mathamelo was an MBA graduate and a mining entrepreneur with extensive mining experience. Her projects included being part of Minrico, a Randgold & Exploration subsidiary company with an interest in Diamond and Gold mining, and Director in Ongoza/Diamcor Joint Venture, a Kimberlite Exploration project in the Northern Cape.
Thelma received the Cosmopolitan Magazine Mover of the Year award for 2004/2005. She was a finalist in the coveted Nedbank Business Woman of the Year award in 2006. In October 2007, she was awarded the Business Woman of the Year Award 2007 by the SA Council for Businesswomen (SACBW), an affiliate of The Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (AHI). This led to her being appointed the Vice President of the South African Council for Business Women in 2007 and finally becoming National President in 2010, making her the first-ever Black President in the Organization’s history of 23 years then.
In July 2005, she was invited by The Commonwealth to speak at the historic G8 Summit in Gleneagles, United Kingdom, about African Women in the Mining Sector. In October 2005 she was invited to speak at the United Nations celebration of the World Youth Week where she spoke about Youth and Young People’s Involvement in Business Globally.
The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles made his first official visit to the United States in more than ten years and he, together with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Anan, hosted a Historic Round Table Business meeting in New York on 1 November 2005, focusing on Africa. Thelma was invited to speak on Youth-driven Enterprises and how governments could help youth-driven businesses to succeed. Her involvement with the Common Wealth and the United Nations has led to her being appointed Advisor to the United Nations on matters affecting Women and Youth Driven Businesses in October 2005.
She dedicated her time empowering rural and disadvantaged communities, particularly women, through training on small-scale mining as a business, and general business management skills.”
Sadly, she passed away on 29 May 2017 at the age of 44.
In an article on cultural diversity, Dr. Santie von Below, a member of the SACBW, wrote: “The best leaders are those who understand diversity thoroughly and then develop their vision accordingly. Thinking that your way of doing something is ultimately the best and only option, may set you up for failure. Especially where multiple cultures are involved. Rather take time to grow in your understanding of others. Do not be afraid of what is different. Take a moment to stand in the other person’s shoes. Seek to do what is right in the circumstances at hand from a broader perspective. The wise leader builds a diverse team with solid expertise.”