Born in King William’s Town and raised in Langa, Cape Town, Thandi Dywili is an encouraging testimony of ‘It does not matter where you come from, what matters most is who you choose to become’. Her career started at the University of Western Cape, while studying BCom Human Resources, where she also worked as an assistant to the Head of the Department of the Economics Management Studies—and she never looked back.
The dynamic founder of Lilitha Consulting Group (previously MICODE Mining and Construction Developments), realised her inclination towards business, as opposed to being employed by a company, during her high school years. At social gatherings and outings, she would always be curious and would ask which line of business allowed people to afford luxury cars and mansions? Those responses contributed to the opening of her mind. Working at the Waterfront in customer service exposed her to a life of fine dining and other social luxury experiences.
All that encouraged her to work and research more strategically towards her success to experience the best the world has to offer, as she believes.
As a human resource employee, Thandi has collected a wealth of business knowledge in the industries she has worked in: among others, in the mining, steel production, IT and construction industries. “I am forever grateful to the bosses that I have worked with. Every lesson has contributed to my business thought process and my exposure has now become my business,” she told BBQ with a smile.
Her ambition, curiosity and willingness to learn have always led her to researching the business of the company she would be working for, to dig deeper into the understanding of how that company managed to operate successfully—from affording salaries to the overheads.
Her forte lies in the development of people, with the complete understanding that mentally equipped people who possess the willingness to learn, have the basic and most important requirements when it comes to building and growing a business and its human capital.
Lilitha Consulting was formed in 2007 and comprises of two divisions: Human Resource Solutions, including a youth development NPO, and the Procurement division (Minerals and Rail).
The Youth Development NPO, called ‘Let’s Get You Hired’ (LGYH), aims to assist our country’s youth, by centralising career related information and enabling them to access it more easily. This information includes guidance on bursaries, internships and sustainable entrepreneurship.
Thandi is also the Managing Director of The Mvelo Group, a procurement and construction group operating in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“It has not been easy”, she says with a deep sigh. "I earned my first invoice from Dr Robert Mhlanga of Liparm Corporations, whom I assisted with a human capital solution for his Sandton office. All I can say is, when you have a clear vision, invest your time in research, read, and affiliate yourself with successful people within the spaces you aim to succeed in, it somehow eventually comes together.But it indeed requires one to be resilient and astute, as it has taken me almost eight years to start seeing the fruits of my labour.”
“In business, my biggest challenge has always been raising capital or, a lack of business acumen to be able to negotiate. I have always been a big-minded woman, with a clear picture of the end result, and that has kept me going, even at times where business activities were only a build-up and not necessarily resulting in payment at the end of the month. And being a woman aiming to succeed in male-dominated industries also comes with challenges, mostly unrelated to the content—they can be heavily frustrating, but here
I am. Now I have eventually partnered with great people who have a mutual objective; to acquire, share and change circumstances. With these partnerships, I am able to express my acquired skills, stretch my capabilities and explore business opportunities further. The success of that, also comes with responsibilities and one such responsibility is having to develop and grow society, with your resources, profits and acquired knowledge” she says.
She believes that that is the true value of success—being able to make a positive difference in the lives of those who need it the most.
LGYH has been formed to be an organisation that would make that positive difference.“I used to get very depressed and frustrated because of the slow pace at which things come together, or the infrequency of good results. But later on I realised that it was also God’s plan to mature my character. During the hard times, praying also helped me to handle money wisely. I used to earn money and spend it all, assuming that it would be easy to make it again, but in business things always change, so one has to save and account for that.”
Business is not the only thing this sanguine woman is inclined to. She recently, during Africa Month, appeared on TV, expressing a well-deliberated question on what it means to be African. She is currently also preparing to launch and host her TV Show, Lets Get You Hired, which aims to tackle youth unemployment challenges, expose youth to opportunities within industries and advise on career paths and sustainable entrepreneurship. Moreover, she has a beautiful radio voice and looks forward to hosting a human resource/jobs show on one of the reputable radio stations, in 2018. One of Thandi’s hobbies is reading. She says much of her passion is encouraged by the materiel she reads. And every reading period is dedicated to what she needs to understand more of at that point in time. Her leisure reading includes topics around psychology and religion.
Those who know her say that she has a calm personality and is very attentive. And we have also heard that she is the go-to person among her friends when they need assistance with making important decisions. As a result, she is working on her book titled Resist the temptation.
“One of my friends and mentors, Busani Mabunda, encouraged me to take my time with this one. I am not in a rush to expose myself at the level of its content as it digs deep into my history, analysing temptations, including the numerous temptations to leave the security of a job, to risk the guarantee of income in business.
Temptation does not always have negative connotations, but let’s leave that for the book.”Thandi is objective and balanced and she attributes that to the notion that Libra’s like herself are able to scale situations. “However true that may be”, she laughs.“The future looks as bright as the effort I aim to invest to fuel it.
It has become quite evident that all things do come together for the good of those who research, plan, express and implement their dreams. Genuine mentorships and wise guidance are also quite elemental in shaping a young person’s career. I have been blessed with meeting and engaging great people in business, who always identified potential in me. Many of them will be smiling warmly by themselves as they see me surface to success,” she says. We look forward to seeing and experiencing the work of this lady.
She is full of passion, energy and ambition and she aims to make her mark in the minerals, steel production and rail space, yet prioritising and never abandoning the development of the youth. We look forward to seeing and experiencing the work of this dynamic lady.