Women of excellence: Salukazi Dakile-Hlongwane, corporate dynamo driving women’s empowerment

Salukazi Dakile HlongwaneSalukazi Dakile-Hlongwane has said her entrepreneurial spirit was inspired by her mother, who helped support the family by making and selling dresses to their Soweto neighbours.

Salukazi Dakile-Hlongwane has a passion for social upliftment and has spent her career developing Africa and its women. The company she helped to create, Nozala Investments, is a broad-based women’s investment firm that aims to ensure economic advancement for women.

Dakile-Hlongwane grew up in Soweto. Her father was a civil servant and her mother made and sold dresses to neighbours. She has said this inspired her own entrepreneurial spirit. Dakile-Hlongwane went to school in Lesotho, where her parents sent her to escape the Bantu education system. After school, she did an economics degree and went to work for the Lesotho National Development Corporation. She then went to the United States to do her MA in development economics.

Since then, Dakile-Hlongwane has worked for the African Development Bank in the Côte d’Ivoire capital of Abidjan, for the Southern African Development Corporation in South Africa, and for FirstCorp Merchant Bank in the structured finance unit. She has served as CEO of Eqstra Holdings Limited and is a director of MultiChoice Africa. She was also assistant general manager of specialised finance at BoE NatWest.

Dakile-Hlongwane and two other women, Jean Ngubane and Dawn Mokhobo, were the founding members of Nozala when it was established in 1996. It is currently controlled by its founding members through Nozala Holdings and 10 women’s empowerment groups. A separate trust supports business start-ups in poor areas.