I was introduced to the Black in Business Club by its first Co-President, Cole Agbede. When I started on London Business School’s MBA programme in 2020, I joined the Africa Club and Cole was assigned as my mentor. He told me that he and his classmate Tabria Lenard were founding a club dedicated to the representation, wellbeing and advancement of Black individuals; almost instantly, I said I was in. From our first ever event – ‘Black at LBS’ – to organising a panel on allyship with writers from Harvard Business Review, my commitment to and passion for the club has gone from strength to strength. So when applications opened to take over as our new president, I had to put myself forward.
As the new President of the club, I believe I bring a unique perspective due to the different parts of my identity. I am Black, hailing from an African country and a low-income social class background. I’m also a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. This encourages me to look at everything through a nuanced lens. While the Black experience will always be the club’s driving force, I’m also hungry to continue exploring how the intersectionality between race, sexuality, gender and social class comes into play.
A child of change
I grew up in one of South Africa’s poorest regions – the Limpopo province – during the end of apartheid (1994). It was a real moment of change, but as one can imagine, a system like that can’t be undone overnight. It was during this time that my family moved from Makhado, a rural village, to Louis Trichardt, a predominantly white, Afrikaner town where many were still committed to the ideals of the past government. Navigating this transition as a child, while living alongside people who were still invested in the old status quo, was a strange experience, but ultimately helped to shape my understanding of race relations from a very young age.
For the majority of my childhood I only ever saw Black people working in low-paying service jobs; they weren’t given the opportunities in work or education that white people were given. My parents were both teachers; roles that were few and far between. They always emphasised the importance of education and learning, and so I put everything into my school work and excelled in the majority of my subjects. Without the grounding my parents gave me and my resulting success at school, I wouldn’t have got to where I am today.
A new perspective
My parents couldn’t afford to send me to a good university, so I applied for a scholarship with Anglo American – a multinational mining company. The mining industry is huge in South Africa, so many organisations offer scholarships in relevant subjects. I was accepted and went on to do a Chemical Engineering degree at the University of Cape Town, which was a crucial turning point in my life.