“Discipline is the strongest form of self-love. It’s ignoring current pleasures for bigger rewards to come. It’s loving yourself enough to give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted.”

Nikitha Gcelu



Organisation / Company

Discovery Limited (Vitality Health International Africa)


As the head of Vitality Africa, there’s a lot on the plate of Nikitha Gcelu, 30, as he has to build the health insurance business in Africa across seven countries, each with varying levels of access to healthcare and financial services. He says Africa is going through a disease profile shift: there’s an increase in non-communicable diseases, as more and more people develop health conditions because of their lifestyle. Nikitha is helping to design programmes that meet the needs of the African consumer. Some of the Vitality initiatives include making health screening more accessible, destigmatising HIV and mental health issues, and forming partnerships that help eradicate malaria.

One partnership is with Goodbye Malaria; together t§hey are raising millions towards spraying homes to kill mosquitoes. To get to his current position, Nikitha had to pivot more than once. He started on an accounting path, found it boring, then used his savings to study management, and became an executive associate. Finally, after seeking out more business-focused initiatives, he became a “perfect generalist” who is executing on a wide range of projects.


  • Masters in Management (Digital Business), Wits Business School
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Business Administration), Wits Business School
  • Bcom Financial Accounting, Stellenbosch University


Over the past 18 months, I have been part of the core business team tasked with the responsibility of rolling out our health insurance with an embedded Vitality offering across Africa, and was instrumental in strategy and business development. Working for Vitality Health International Africa has been rewarding. Each market is unique, with its own set of challenges, which essentially means that we are responsible for managing the operations of seven uniquely different businesses as a result of market circumstances. I am the head of Vitality Africa, and my team is responsible for the delivery of our wellness solution, and for creating a market-specific Vitality offering that helps make our members healthier, and enhances and protects their lives in the long term.

In April 2023, my team announced a partnership with a social benefit organisation, Goodbye Malaria, to help reduce the high incidence of malaria that has an unrelenting toll on human health in Africa. Through this partnership, we are positively impacting people’s health outcomes while improving and protecting their lives. To date, we have managed to raise millions of rands towards house spraying (with insecticide, which kills mosquitoes) in Mozambique, and we have enabled members to donate weekly rewards to this worthy cause.

Other achievements include: Dean’s Award recipient for academic achievement from Wits Business School; Postgraduate merit scholarship recipient from Wits Business School; Appointed to Junior Board at Alexander Forbes Investment; Chairperson/Vitality Employment Equity Consultative Forum that ensures diversity and inclusion; and being an EXCO member in Vitality RSA and Vitality Health International Africa.


I’ve been lucky to find good mentors throughout my career, and they have all played a significant role in the leader I am today. Mentorship has worked really well for me, due to the friendships I have with my mentors, which made it easy to share, learn and engage them on different challenges I have experienced, both personally and professionally. I believe my mentors have also learnt a great deal from me in the process, with all parties coming out winners in the process.