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    Sithembile Ntombela: The woman behind South Africa's brand image

    How the world sees Africa is fundamental in fostering international relations and investment. And how Africa sees itself is vital in engendering national pride, active citizenship and social cohesion.
    Sithembile Ntombela
    Sithembile Ntombela

    Sithembile Ntombela: The woman behind South Africa's brand image
    Brand South Africa has been managing the country’s image for 20 years, and is currently led by Acting CEO, Sithembile Ntombela. Sithembile has been an integral part of the Brand South Africa team for over a decade, and is now the leading voice in how South Africa is represented to its people and the rest of the world.

    One of Brand South Africa’s flagship programmes is Play Your Part, a nationwide initiative created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. The programme, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, is just one of the numerous programmes implemented by Brand South Africa in its consistent goal to evoke active citizenship, nation pride and positive change in the country.

    Women are still unequally represented in C-Suite positions, but Sithembile’s influence in spearheading a leading African brand is indicative of not only her resilience and tenacity, but also symbolic of a changing landscape of women in upper management positions.

    Africa is actually leading the charge in terms of gender representation. While only 39% of senior leadership positions in Africa are held by women, the split is considerably more favourable than North America’s 33%.

    African women have more influence on the socio-economic future of their continent than anywhere else in the world. Sithembile is a prime example of a woman who is championing positive change in Africa, and on more levels than one.

    Brand South Africa works closely with the African Union, and is instrumental in ensuring that Africa meets its Vision 2063 targets. Hanna Tetteh, the Head of the UN Office to the AU, acknowledged in a recent article that “throughout the centuries of African history, women have played an integral role in society and shaped the culture of their communities and their larger societies.”

    Sithembile embodies this assertion - as a woman who is shaping South Africa’s public image and the perceived socio-cultural landscape of the country. She is also a pivotal voice in South Africa’s continental role, fostering continental patriotism within South Africa.

    Sithembile’s influence in curating positive national and continental perception both locally, continentally and internationally is no small task. She plays one of the most important roles in nurturing South Africa’s growth, its continental social influence and its position on the global stage.

    As a powerful voice affecting positive change in South Africa, and heading up a leading African Brand, Sithembile’s achievements as Brand South Africa CEO (Acting) are tribute to her resilience and her passion for uplifting the country’s image. She is a subscriber to the notion of building “Brand Africa”, after all Africa is rich with talent that can elevate its competitiveness, image and reputation globally. Moreover, she represents a growing percentage of African women in leadership positions, and is a symbol for Africa’s progression towards more equitable gender representation in positions of influence.

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