Achievers’ Corner >> Mr Mafika Mkwanazi

 Mafika Mkwanazi
Veteran business executive
 Mafika Edmund Mkwanazi

Mr. Mafika E. Mkwanazi has been the Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director of Transnet SOC Limited since December 13, 2010. Mr. Mkwanazi’s area of expertise is Corporate governance, engineering and strategy. Mr. Mkwanazi has been a Director of Transnet Ltd. since 2010. He has been a Non-Executive Director of Eskom Holdings SOC Limited since June 2011.

Mr Mafika Mkwanazi:

I was born 31st January 1954 in Soweto. I attended a number of schools in Soweto and Matriculated at Orlando West High School in 1972. While in high school was a hawker on railways and bus stations.

I stared my working life at Frank and Hirsch as an accounts clerk in 1973. Could not start university in 1973 because my preferred university was for a select ethnic grouping as per the then existing laws and regulations.

I completed a B.Sc. degree in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Zululand in 1978. I taught Maths and Electronics at Anchor Senior Secondary School in 1983.

I graduated in Electrical Engineering at the University of Natal in 1984. I was sponsored by Anglo American. This meant that I had to work on their mines for at least two years. This was done through Kriel Colliery working as a junior graduate engineer. I obtained a Management development Diploma at Wits University in 1987 and a diploma in Strategies for successful Management at Wharton University in 1990.

I am currently a non executive director of: SABS, Stefanutti and Stocks; MSC Depots; MSC Logistics; MSC South Africa; Saatchi and Saatchi, and non executive Chairman of HULAMIN. I am also a director and shareholder of a number of small BEE companies that are used to participate in BEE opportunities.

Was a non executive director of Nedbank from April1999 to November 2009? While at Nedbank I served in a number of committees including Audit, Risk, and Credit and was chairman of an IT strategy and Innovation committee called SIMCO. Was Chairman of Western Areas Limited from September 2003 to August 2005? Was Chairman of Letseng Diamonds in Lesotho and Letseng Investment Holdings from 2003 till 2006? I was also President of the South

America Cup Challenge (a section 21 company organising to participate in a worldwide ocean race which took place in 2007).

I was at some stage CEO of Metrorail (1995 to 1996), Executive director of Transnet (1996 to 2001); CEO of Transnet (2001 to 2003); Chairman of SAA, Propnet, V&A Waterfront Holdings and Spoornet, Member of Eskom Council (1996 to 1999), and non executive director of the IDC (1996 to 1999).

I was also a senior manager (reporting to the Technical Director) of BMW SA in charge of Total Quality Management of all of production at BMW Rosslyn plant. I was also in charge of Metrology as part of a service we offered to the production lines. I was closely involved in implement ISO and VDA related quality management systems for this plant. I was later transferred to become Plant Manager of BMW Engine Plant South Africa (1992 to 1994).

I was also; Plant Manager of Bristol Myers Squibb (1989 to 1991) in charge of their FMCG manufacturing processes, Unit Manager (Packaging) of South African Breweries (1986 to 1989) and Graduate Engineer of AMCOAL (1984 to 1986). I have served as a trustee of a Property Trust and Pension Funds.

I am Chairman of one of these called Shamsko Projects. Shamsko Projects has shares in listed entities (Sasol and MTN).I recently (January 2010) bought a 26% stake in a quarry in KZN through one of my small companies called Marble Gold 237 (pty) ltd. I was appointed non executive director of this company from the 1st January 2010.

In June 2010 I was appointed to be a member of a State Owned Enterprises Review Committee which reported to Minister Collins Chabane in the Presidency. The work of this committee  was estimated to take not more than twelve months,



Achievers’ Corner >> Dr Buyisiwe Sondezi

Dr Buyisiwe Sondezi, South Africa Dr Sondezi graduated as a Doctor of Physics from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in September , with a thesis titled “The physical properties of ferromagnetic CeTX compounds, where T is Copper and Gold and X is Silicon and Germanium”. Her thesis supervisor, Professor André Strydom, said “I have witnessed what difficult times she had come through. “When someone wants something with so much passion and fervour, and gets through all of the obstacles and the difficulties in life to achieve what she wants to achieve, then we have a responsibility to embrace the student’s aspirations and to give her every opportunity to help realise her goals in life. “I have learnt from the example set by Buyi just as much as she has learnt from working as a Physics researcher in our group.”

We asked Dr Sondezi to share some of her inspiring secrets:

Dr Buyisiwe Sondezi, South Africa

1. Who inspired you to be a strong woman?

My mom. Her ability to give birth to all ten of us (me and my siblings), and still manage to raise us up, teaching and guiding us to be the best that we can be.

2. And which women are your mentors?

Socially and academically – Prof Aletta Prinsloo [Associate Professor of the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science at UJ]. Spiritually – Pastor Hlengiwe Dungulu, Apostle Sophie Mlati and Prophetess Salome Ntsoseng.

3. What inspired you to study this particular degree?

My study of the sciences was driven by curiosity and wanting to be the first to discover the drug to cure Aids. I wanted to do medicine and do medical research. I had to choose the Sciences. And as time went on, and as I eventually did pure sciences, the drive to do my PhD in the field of  Highly Correlated Matter came from the complexities that come with this study. The unpredictability of the results in this study are the driving forces that enable me to search even deeper.

4. What will you do now that you have the degree?

Now it’s time to work! The world is waiting. Dr Buyisiwe Sondezi, South Africa

5. What advice would you give to other South African women to help them follow their dreams and believe in themselves?

You are not your past, nor your current…but you are that which you dreamt. Follow that which is not yet seen…and sooner than you think, it shall be tangible.

6. You’re a mother of two. Has it been difficult to study and be a mom at the same time?

Yes it was tough. Juggling these requires special focus and determination. In some cases external help is needed.

7. What makes you proud to be South African?

From the time I started my honours degree, I never paid a cent towards my studies. Funding from our South African government took care of my fees. As a South African, I’m grateful for all that assistance. I’m a proudly South African product – born and raised from the dusty farm just outside Newcastle (Benva Farm) in Kwa-Zulu Natal. I was blessed that our government took care of my studies as was needed.

  • Most Outstanding Oral Presentation in the field of Condensed Mater Physics and Material Science delivered at Annual SAIP Conference by a Masters Student – 2004
  • Most Outstanding Poster Presentation in the field of Condensed Mater Physics and Material Science delivered at Annual SAIP Conference by a PhD Student – 2008
  • Winner of Women in Science Award awarded by Department of Science and Technology in 2009.
  • Fun and Fearless Women Winner 2009 awarded by Cosmopolitan.
  • Received “Human and Institutional Capacity Development Grant” from NRF which aims to improve academic development – 2011


1.  ,October 28, 2014


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