By: Natasha Archary
When she’s not hosting Kaya Bizz, facilitating business forums or jetting off throughout Africa on business conferences, Gugulethu Mfuphi is a feisty role-model for young women. Changing the face of business talk in the country, she understands the male-dominated industry better than most triple her age and she’s not about to tone down.
More to her than meets the eye
Her passion for public speaking is what drove her soul to the radio. From her early primary school days, partaking in public speaking contests in both English and Afrikaans, the Ennerdale raised business inspiration studied to be a Charted Accountant.
Completing her studies at the University of Johannesburg, the aim was to finish her Honors. Life had other plans and Gugu was pulled into radio by her best friend Mummy Mohlahlo. Juggling news presenting whenever the campus radio station required her, she went onto co-host a late-night campus talk show. By, then the radio bug had bitten.
Behind the business tenders
In an alternate life, Gugu would have chosen to be more selfish with her time and not be swayed by misguided societal pressures. A now more liberal thinker, Gugu would have probably been a teacher or nurse but is content with the way life has turned out.
After leaving UJ in 2010, Gugu found herself at EWN, working the graveyard shift on the news-desk. This gave her the experience that honed her on-air skills. It was here she realized she wanted to be an anchor.
She moved onto Moneyweb, covering their business segments on a few SABC radio stations. After an intimidating interview process, Gugu was hired as an IT journalist. Business has and always will be where this Afropolitan’s heart lies and it was never her ambition to remain in the news arena. No, this smart woman who could just as easily pass as a supermodel, wanted to host her own business show.
Dominating the markets
Poised but with a laid-back feel to her, it’s almost like confiding in a friend about your financial troubles when you speak to Gugu. She has the professionalism that’s required in this dog eat dog industry but she has the ability to level with you on that one on one basis which is no easy feat.
She has the added experience that came with her TV hosting at CNBC Africa. Radio and TV are worlds apart but Gugu took to it like a fish out of water. Gaining more exposure reporting on panel discussions at the World Economic Forum.
She admits there’s a definite hierarchy with the processes in the business sector in the country. But she doesn’t care for it or allow the clear narrative that a young, black woman still has a long way to go to dominate the market. She is fast making a name for herself and changing the elitist view that the business community is misrepresented.
It’s not all business
Armed with soft interpersonal skills, Gugu finds a way to engage with people beyond face value. Using the knowledge and information to empower people, she draws huge inspiration from Oprah, and Susi Orman.
The sweet-tooth who could pass up a main meal for a chocolate dessert is a testament that the road to success is not without a few potholes en-route. Her stumbles along the way reminded her that she has a fierce support system behind her in the form of her close-knit family.
But if there’s one thing you can take from Gugu’s empowering story is that behind every woman who is on a journey of rediscovery, there’s an army of strong women rooting for her.
“Be bold enough to take the risks and go where no one has gone before. Trust God, but while you’re there have faith in yourself wholeheartedly. And then, go out and take what’s yours.” Gugulethu Mfuphi