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Judy Sikuza: The potential unleasher

Updated: May 13, 2019



Judy Sikuza @xhosagirladventures is the Deputy Executive Director of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, and is entrusted with managing Nelson Mandela’s legacy of building excellence in scholarship and leadership on the African continent, a task she does not take lightly. Judy, who hails from the Eastern Cape, tells us that she has always inherently known that she wanted to contribute to the world by helping others be their best selves. This saw her pursuing an undergraduate degree in psychology, despite her mother’s concerns that her chosen area of study would not provide the kind of security that a business degree would. After completing an honours as a Mandela Rhodes scholar, and a Masters in organisational psychology as a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University, Judy returned to South Africa at the height of the 2010 Football World Cup, but struggled to find work, which she says was humbling. After a few years in the financial services sector, Judy found herself struggling with an internal need to do something bigger. This saw her quitting her well-paid, corporate job with nothing lined up in order to try find a space where she could use all her skills at a broader level, in order to achieve a greater impact. She spent some time working at Reos partners as a consultant before being tapped for her role at the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. Working at the foundation has pushed her into a different league altogether, Judy explains. It’s a place where she influences the curation and capacitation of the next generation of African leaders and scholars but also has a hand in influencing and engaging with sector leaders. This has forced her out of her comfort zone in ways that have been scary, but has challenged her to listen to her inner voice and power and rise to the occasion.

We are inspired by Judy’s passionate pursuit of unearthing possibilities in others - she’s an example of how listening to your inner voice can lead you to a place where you can have your greatest impact. When she’s not helping shape the future leadership spectrum, Judy enjoys binge watching reality TV with her wife, Janet.


Featured artist: Ilse Lewis @novawoolf_ilse_xx

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