Gender equality activist Ayanda Mfusi is the deputy chairperson of the Black Management Forum (BMF) which is based in the Western Cape.
The BMF’s role is to assist in the transformation of business through sourcing qualified black professionals, creating opportunities for black businesses in corporate supply chains and creating the dialogue for corporates to engage in transformation and share best practises.
Mfusi started out at the forum in 2016 as an assistant in their new Century City branch and helped them to secure over 200 members in their first year. Two years later she became the provincial deputy chairperson for the non-racial, thought-leadership organisation.
She is involved in the area of gender equality, working for transformation and the promotion of black business. A highlight for her has been setting up a BMF Gender Desk in the province to promote and advance issues of black females in the corporate sector and to highlight issues of gender discrimination.
Mfusi’s focus is around programs that equip females with the skills they need to advance in business, to provide support to each other and to advocate issues of gender discrimination.
Her involvement in gender equality and transformation is about creating a society where all citizens benefit and contribute meaningfully. It’s about driving change that creates a sustainable future for everyone.
This is important in creating a just society where everyone feels that they have dignity and are valued. In that way, she sees herself as a healer, someone who is alleviating past injustices and creating a better life for women.
Mfusi is passionate about the advancement of women, especially into positions of leadership, something which she believes is lacking in this country.
“I believe that education will ensure that women from all walks of life have the opportunity to better their lives,” she said.
Mfusi said even though her work at BMF is challenging it is also very rewarding.
“I believe my exposure to the private and public sectors has allowed me to be the bridge between the two worlds in creating a province where all can feel wanted and have access to opportunity,” she said.
She added, “The Western Cape isn’t an easy province to navigate, especially for black professionals, and seeing the challenges that these professionals face on a daily basis highlights the need for transformation in all spheres.”
Her vision for the next five years is to create platforms for black professionals in the corporate and business worlds to thrive and to become change agents in their respective fields.
She is working towards a South Africa that upholds the rights of women and where transformation is no longer about compliance and distribution of equity, but is embodied in every South African.
She believes that she has an important role to play in making an impact in creating a transformed South Africa where every facet of society is reflective of the country’s demographics.
Mfusi also wants to create a society that protects and upholds the rights of women; and notes that issues like sexual harassment or advances in the workplace remain a serious issue, one that should be addressed head-on and not swept under the carpet.
“Equal work for equal pay are also among the issues that must be addressed to drive improvement to legislation on gender equity to ensure stricter compliance by corporates,” she said.