The team from Get-U-Noticed was excited to attend the popular Durban Entrepreneurs Club monthly event that took place at the Durban Country Club recently, which saw a full house of members and guests gathering together to connect and network before listening to one of KZN’s top, award winning business women and powerhouse, Mpume Langa, Regional Executive of Bidvest Bank, who was guest speaker for the evening.

Before introducing Mpume, Grant Gavin, Founder and Chairman of the Durban Entrepreneurs club gave members and guests an inspiring and thought provoking talk on empowerment. Said Grant : “Empowerment gives access to knowledge and skills and lets people master their own destiny and lets them know that they have to be held accountable for their actions. Self empowerment is vital and we need to be self empowered to make things happen by:

• Being open to all possibilities to see opportunities
• Focusing on ourselves.
• Taking action to build confidence.
• Running our own race.. Competing with ourselves.
• Being open to guidance

Mpume took the audience on a journey through her life, meandering through the difficult and most painful areas, to where she is today. Said Mpume, “We all have something in common. Fear. It’s what drives us.”

She said that although she had a difficult childhood, she felt loved. She was resilient from an early age and was determined to make her own money – her first business was selling sweets and ice lollies.
She attended school from the age of four, but had to walk, for miles, and then take a bus, to get there. Getting lost drove her to realizing the importance of being Street Smart. “Once when I got lost, an old lady of 80 helped me find my way home. There have always been these people in my life who have helped me to overcome my fear and find my way home.” She said.

Living through the turbulent and violent times in the townships in the eighties and early nineties, Mpume said that today people were angry sometimes because they witnessed horror from an early age. She was personally touched by many episodes of terror .

Mpume’s resilience saw her taking on jobs from an early age to help make her life and her mother’s life better. She learnt to speak English and how to operate a computer in her teens; was runner up in a beauty pageant and won a modeling course. “Modeling made me think I was not good enough. This allowed self doubt to get in the way – and fear. I reached a really low point in my life and almost ended it but I was helped out of this pit of despair by the man who was to become my husband.” She explained.

Looking back to see how far she has come, Mpume said that she set her heart on becoming a bank manager after she got into United Bank as a trainee. “The white man who interviewed me asked me what I wanted to be and I said – a bank manager. He saw the good in me. He mentored me. Mentorship is key and so is diversity. Don’t look at colour or race.. Look into those eyes and see hope. There is nothing to fear. Good does exist and abundance is everywhere. Our country is dying because we don’t LISTEN to each other. Diversity is the art of listening, and thinking independently together. The more variety the better society.” Concluded Mpume.

Glenda Thompson. Get-U-Noticed.

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