sets the benchmark in integrity, equity and professionalism and is driven to inspire new standards of excellence in her Industry. As the first black female chartered accountant, Nonkululeko Gobodo, positioned herself as part of the country’s historic name. She had a vision when she was young of one day helping change the economic landscape of this nation and today, she is part of that change in action.
After lecturing at the University of Transkei and a stint with the Transkei Development Corporation as a senior financial manager, in 1996 she formed and chaired Gobodo Inc. However, her ambition was no less than to change the landscape of the accounting and auditing profession in South Africa by consolidating all the black-owned firms into one medium-sized firm that could take its place among the ‘Big Four’ firms.
In order to obtain enough work from both public and private sectors, including work on an international level, the company needed to be large enough to have serious clout.
This dream took a lot longer than anticipated and involved more than one detour before, in 2011, Gobodo played a key role as one of the leaders in the successful merger of Gobodo and SizweNtsaluba VSP to create SizweNtsalubaGobodo.
The firm is now the fifth largest in South Africa, with 55 partners and a staff complement of more than 1 000.
As a visionary, she lists one of her biggest responsibilities as having the persistence to deliver on that vision. “It becomes something you cannot wander from or abandon – even if you attract personal criticism and attack. For this reason, I tend to treat my public persona as a separate entity, one that I focus on almost as a business. I believe only in this manner can one ensure the journey through life is a good experience.”
She left SizweNtsalubaGobodo in 2014 to pursue other interests. She said she was happy with the legacy she was leaving. “For me, it’s a sense of fulfilment in achieving my dream of a big black accounting firm. It represents authentic black success. I’m leaving this merger a success.”
Tsakani Ratsela is one of the many women in business today that were inspired by Nonkululeko Gobodo. Ratsela is now a trailblazer herself. She was recently appointed the first female deputy Auditor-General in the institution’s 103-year history. Many others still draw inspiration from Nonkululeko Gobodo till date, as a legend in the realms of numbers.