Nelisiwe Masango – Financial Markets Analyst, CEO of Ubuntu Invest and one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs to Watch – speaks about the true meaning of Ubuntu and the Spirit of Wealth. Nelisiwe believes that with resourcefulness, determination and entrepreneurial spirit, financial hardship can be overcome.
“The Nguni term ‘Ubuntu’ means ‘humanity’. It is sometimes translated as ‘I am because we are’. And the reality is, one of humanity’s greatest driving forces is the desire for wealth, despite it being difficult to define. Modern life is under its spell. But working towards virtues such as trustworthiness, compassion, honesty and empathy develop a different kind of wealth. Our financial and material lives are affected by our virtues, and that’s where Ubuntu and the Spirit of Wealth go hand in hand. As businesspeople in the financial sphere, we spread the spirit of abundance, knowledge, and generational wealth through entrenching culture and maintaining a deep understanding of financial markets.
The community legacy of wealth – “The cycle of poverty is not easy to break, as it affects more than just the individual. Socioeconomic factors can inhibit the entrepreneurial spirit. Great entrepreneurs seek solutions that not only benefit themselves but could also help grow their own communities. My vision for South African entrepreneurs would be to stabilise the community in which we find ourselves. We need to afford each other opportunities that will fully equip us to grow as independently as possible, but to also create credible businesses that will stand among well experienced and successful entrepreneurs. Our mission as entrepreneurs should always be to leave a legacy that creates a desire and presents attainable ways of becoming successful.
“Being self-sufficient early in life taught me responsibility and perseverance, which are two of my greatest personal strengths in business today. I always say, ‘Start them young and their future will be filled with more opportunities’. Even from a young age, I always had a business of some sort, hustling and saving as I went along. I was born a leader, so entrepreneurship was an obvious choice for me, but I knew that it any success of mine could have a positive impact on those around me.
“Standing on the shoulders of giants” – “One of Isaac Newton’s best-known quotes is, ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants’. I believe this is true for anyone who succeeds in life.
“I’m a firm believer in learning from those who pave the way, so respecting industry leaders is key. I was bold and lucky enough to take it a step further and partner up with established mentors to start my first company in the financial space. Some of my key inspirations were Adrian Gore (with whom I share an award), Basetsana Kumalo, Magda Wierzycka, Mark Shuttleworth, Elon Musk, Cathie Wood, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett. Standing on the shoulders of giants afforded me the opportunity to leverage off them and learn as much as I could.
“Partnerships are the secret to a successful enterprise. Understanding your market, which requires extensive research, is imperative – but you also must be open to criticism as you find your niche and build your empire. This interpretation of Ubuntu and the Spirit of Wealth maintains that, without keeping others in mind, even if only as inspiration, success is not easily achieved. We could well be the giants of the future.”