RMB Solutionist Thinking is a podcast series hosted by Bruce Whitfield which focusses on great South African minds thinking differently and going against the norm. In the first episode in the second series, Whitfield interviews South African businesswoman, author and philanthropist, Dr Judy Dlamini.
She wasn't born in the township but she certainly knew how the other half lived. And, in her realisation of the sufferings of the people on the other side, a young Judy Dlamini became even more driven to achieve success in a world rigged in favour of white people.
So, when a four-year-old Judy's eyes gazed upon the accomplished Dr Gxabhashe in the corridors of her local hospital, she knew that she was destined to become a medical doctor. And so she did. She practised for 13 years before setting sights on her next venture.
She flags a mugging outside her medical practice as a turning point in her life.
Sizwe and I actually had a bakery next to our practice and before we started having fidelity guards to collect the t takings, I used to take the takings. On this particular day, I actually got out of my practice... and, they came for a car and found cash, so I became a target.— Dr Judy Dlamini
She says while she loved practising medicine, her parents' entrepreneurial endeavours inspired her to eventually venture into business.
I knew even then and so did Sizwe, that education was a liberator... education will take me out of this and, that's how I'll prove (that) I'm equal because I'll just make sure that I'm educated.— Dr Judy Dlamini
Equal but different – a determined Dr Dlamini, alongside her husband Sizwe Nxasana whom she met in high school, embarked on many business pursuits over the years, often in the education sphere.
The only way for us as a country, as a people to sustain whatever is built, is by killing inequality and, the best way of killing inequality is education, is telling the positive story because for a child, who is in a very rural area, who has no hope, who doesn't have parents, who has a grandmother who can afford just to put food on the table, you have to say to that child, it's possible.— Dr Judy Dlamini
Today, Dr Dlamini defines herself as privileged – as Chancellor of Wits University, a qualified medical doctor, an author and a businesswoman with an MBA and a Ph.D. in business leadership – she uses her influence for the betterment of the country.
Now, how do you use that privilege to make life better for the next person because each one of us has a responsibility?— Dr Judy Dlamini
This article first appeared on 702 : Solutionist Thinking: Dr Judy Dlamini’s passport out of poverty