Owethu Makhathini, who teaches digital literacy and includes Absa’s ReadyToWork entrepreneurship module in her course, is one such woman. At just 24 years old, this Chesterville, Durban-born dynamo is a respected business owner, lecturer and political studies student. But it’s not what she’s doing that’s so incredible, but rather how she’s been inspired by the women who came before her to use these skills and lift up other young women at the same time.
One could say Owethu has this desire to guide, to help and to effect change, in her blood – an intangible inheritance from the women who’ve come before her. Both her grandmother, who was a teacher and dedicated her time to teaching Owethu to read, and her mother, a strong-willed career woman with a resolute belief in the importance of believing in your dreams and pursuing your goals, are dominant influences.
But so is her great-grandmother, the late, great, Mary Thipe – an extraordinary woman who marched for women’s rights in the ‘50s, offered a halfway house to freedom fighters during apartheid, and later became vice-chairperson of the ANC Women’s League. Another pivotal influence is her high school isiZulu teacher, who Owethu describes as “smart, poised and unapologetic about her blackness and womanhood”.
These influences motivated Owethu to forge the path she did, which – aside from her studies and managing her own business – includes facilitating digital literacy learning programmes for young people across the country and being a contracted trainer for Absa’s ReadyToWork programme.
“This programme is an incredibly important and insightful one. We’re able to give people practical skills training and knowledge that they can use to better their lives. The modules provide comprehensive skills development, from work and entrepreneurship skills to people skills – all of which are necessary in aiding young people to become employable, or at least start their journey into entrepreneurial pursuits,” Owethu explains.
She recognises that this position, of being a guiding light for young women, mirrors the role of so many women who came before her.
Owethu is an unstoppable force, who holds a lifetime of lessons and promise in her pursuit for education and freedom. Her own legacy is inspiring and her own influence, immeasurable. Which is why Absa is telling Owethu’s story in its latest Prosper film, The Women Before Us.
Prosper is Absa’s brand purpose that underlies everything Absa does; it’s an approach to doing business that aims to help people achieve their ambitions in the right way.
Through ReadyToWork and Owethu’s facilitation of these vital training programmes, she prospers, the students she assists prosper, their families prosper and their communities prosper.
Absa is proud to partner with Owethu on her journey to do just that, as a woman who is leading the way, inspired by the women who went before.
The Women Before Us can be viewed on the Absa Blog at : ABSA
Brave. Courageous. Strong. These are the words Owethu Makhathini uses to describe her role models.