Women of excellence: Pontsho Manzi, working for female unity and empowerment

Pontsho ManziAs part of her image-consulting business, Pontsho Manzi works with women to build their self-esteem through empowering workshops on image management.

Businesswoman, globally recognised inspirational speaker, facilitator, coach and image consultant Pontsho Manzi has a cause close to her heart: women empowerment, female unity and the forging of an authentic sisterhood that encompasses confidence, self-esteem and mutual upliftment without competition or envy.

A qualified HR practitioner by training, Manzi is executive chair and CEO of Botlhokwa Group, the holding company for Recrutrain, FabImage and Bonisa Media. She is also an author, the founding editor and publisher of Fabulous Woman magazine, and the creator of South Africa’s first inspirational diary for women, Diary for Fabulous You.

Passionate about female empowerment, youth development and leadership, Pontsho is also the founder of the non-profit Fabulous Girls Foundation and FabWoman Awards.

In 2013 Pontsho realised there were no awards to recognise the ethical values embodied in female empowerment and unity. So she launched the Fabulous Woman Awards to celebrate the foundational principles of ethical womanhood. These are first awards in South Africa that recognise both girls and women in an effort to spread the spirit of sisterhood and cross-generational bonding to all of the country’s women.

On the professional side, in 2004 Pontsho formed Recrutrain, an HR consulting and training company that delivers innovative staffing and training solutions to both private and public sector organisations in South Africa and the SADC region. During her early years of recruiting and training she saw a need to link her business with image consulting, as many candidates consulted her for advice on self-image and image management.

As part of the image consulting business, she identified a need to work with women and build their self-esteem through empowering workshops on image management.

The feedback from workshops propelled her to delve into the image consulting business and she in 2006 she qualified as an image consultant with the Image Academy of South Africa, a member of the Institute for Colour and Image Consultants for Men and Women in California, USA.

With her business acumen, Pontsho launched FabImage in 2007 as a separate company to offer image consulting services to companies and individuals in South Africa and the SADC region. She has delivered talks to organisations and businesses that include GIBS Business School, MTN, MultiChoice, HPCSA, Old Mutual, SASRIA, Kumalo Green, Sasol, MAN, Transnet, the Department of Labour, Vodacom and Cell C.

In 2009 Pontsho founded the non-profit FabGalz Foundation, with the aim of empowering young women and girls. Despite a demanding business schedule, she still coaches girls on character building, leadership skills, self-esteem, personal branding and impression management throughout South Africa. She sits on the board of VK Foundation and Young Women in Business Forum.

In 2011 she created and launched an annual inspirational diary for women called Dairy for Fabulous You, produced by her newly formed publishing company, Bonisa Media. This was Manzi’s bold foray into the media world and another platform to discuss important issues that concern women.

The response from women whose lives she had touched through the diary was overwhelmingly in support of a more frequent publication. So in 2012 Pontsho launched Fabulous Woman Magazine to offer inspiration to women on a quarterly basis, and was amazed by the reach the magazine gave her in her quest to address women’s issues.

Through both the diary and magazine, Pontsho has come full circle back to her original purpose to encourage dialogue among women and strive for a cause close to her heart: women empowerment, women’s unity and the forging of an authentic sisterhood.

A devoted Christian and philanthropist, Pontsho scooped two awards at the 2014 DTI South African Premier Business Awards: Young Entrepreneur Award and Play Your Part Award.

She was also a finalist in the 2014 Women for Africa Awards: International Media Woman Category. In 2011, she was the Winner of Anne Dreyer Rising Star Award, and in 2012 a nominee for South African Most Influential Women and the Shoprite Woman of the Year Award in the Heroine Category. Pontsho was also a finalist in the Heroine Category of Feathers Awards 2013.

She has featured on SABC 3, ETV, CNBC Africa, Good Morning Africa, SAfm, Radio 2000, Kaya FM and many more, and been profiled in print media publications at home and abroad.