Nomasonto Ndlovu, 52, who is the chief operating officer and acting chief executive of South African Tourism, has built a reputation for thinking differently and seeking innovative ways of igniting marketing and tourism, both at the organisation where she works and as leader in the sector.
She has helped to develop successful, diverse institutions that deliver exceptional results as the tourism industry recovers after the severe setbacks as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the travel bans. Nomasonto’s leadership has brought about change in South African Tourism; she has motivated the staff and industry players to reach greater heights.
Under Nomasonto’s leadership at South African Tourism, South Africa, as a destination, recently won the accolade of best country in the world to visit, and Cape Town won the best city in the world, at the Telegraph Travel Awards in the United Kingdom.
In addition to this, fifty-two-year-old Nomasonto has played a mentorship role to many young, black women, providing them with inspiration and guidance, and empowering them to contribute positively to the recovery of the travel and tourism sector after the pandemic.
“My greatest achievement in my field has been contributing to uplifting small businesses in tourism, and the youth, through mentorship and coaching,” she says. Nomasonto, who has a social sciences degree, says the most valuable lesson she has learnt in her career is that “no matter how much I try, I can’t do it alone”.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
That it’s okay not to be perfect, it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process.
Our theme this year is Accelerating Equality & Empowerment in Women. How do you empower yourself and women around you?
I make myself accessible to women who need my help and advice, empowering them with knowledge and advice I wish I was given at a young age, when I started my career.
If you could change or achieve one thing for South Africa today, what would it be?
Intentionally, put women in leadership positions across sectors and industries, because I believe only women can lead this country to the dream country we deserve.