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Meet the new Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund CEO – Konehali Gugushe

Caleb Tayi

Passionate about African Development & Youth Empowerment, Eastern Cape born Ms Gugushe takes on the role of CEO at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Born in Zinyoka Village, just outside of King Williams Town, Ms Konehali (Kone) Gugushe is dedicated to making a positive contribution to African development, community development and youth empowerment, today. Her journey, thus far, has taken the path towards successfully developing corporate governance and social responsibility. Her efforts are geared towards uplifting children and communities all over the nation.

Kone has emphasized the importance of taking a ‘people-centred approach to leadership’. Her determination has led to the cultivation of significant relationships throughout her professional career, whilst navigating numerous diverse roles over the past 20 years.
However, before starting this journey, Kone became a qualified development Chartered Accountant (SA). In the last two decades, she has taken on many roles spanning over the financial services sector and development finance, and has previously worked for companies such as the Standard Bank Group, Nedbank and The Land Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa. She has acquired valuable expertise in Credit Risk Management, Investment Analysis, Business Process Improvement and Business Strategy.

List of Qualifications
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) – Rhodes University
  • Post graduate Diploma in Accounting (PGDA) – University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Certificate in Theory & Practice of Auditing – University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Strategic Leadership Development Programme (Business/Commerce) – GIBS Business School
  • Executive Leadership Development Programme – GIBS Business School

After graduating from Rhodes University and University of Natal, Kone began her career with articles at the audit firm Moores Rowland in Cape Town. Thereafter, she worked at their New York branch and gained international experience in US auditing. After completing her articles, Kone worked at various banks. In addition, she gained experience in private equity management during her time working for Safika Holdings.

Leadership & CSI Involvement 

Kone quickly developed a keen interest in development, spending five years leading the Nedbank Foundation – the primary CSI division of the Nedbank Group. Here, she drove the CSI strategy of the bank, which was geared towards making the group a key driver for upliftment in South African communities. A significant emphasis was placed on sustainability.

Throughout her journey, Kone has cultivated a broad wide range of practical expertise and robust leadership traits. Adopting a holistic understanding of governance and risk issues that organisations face, Kone has dedicated her career to active stakeholder management, being a leader with integrity, and good governance. Her overall vision is to be an active agent in creating a brighter future for generations to come through fostering optimal social cohesion and strengthening communities.

Inspired by her mother’s work in the NGO sector, assisting local communities with self advancement, Kone is committed to selfless work and assisting South Africans.
“I found a lot of inspiration in this [her mother’s] selfless work. It really gave me a great appreciation of what can be achieved if the right resources are channeled to help people advance themselves and not depend on the state”, she said.

Gugushe’s Accolades
  • Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative (ALI)
  • A member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network
  • Emerging Old Rhodian Award (2014)
  • Council member of the University of Johannesburg
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund 

As the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Kone oversees and contributes to the organisation’s work in uplifting South African children and its Youth. The Fund leads various programmes and initiatives, such as Child Survival and Development, Child Safety and Protection, a Youth Leadership Programme, and the Sustainable Livelihoods Project.

In a statement released may the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Fund commended her expertise and devotion to serving young people:
“We are confident in Ms Gugushe’s wealth of experience and reputable leadership qualities will guide the Fund’s strategic focus…This will include strengthening Madiba’s vision for his legacy organisations for children (the Fund, the Trust and NMCH) by promoting synergies, collaboration, sustainability and alignment.”

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