CA Thato Tshabalala: A revolutionary


Senatla Capital head of private equity Thato Tshabalala unpacks her dedication for transformation, and the legacy she hopes to leave behind.

Thato Tshabalala, who grew up in Soweto, said the township’s “rich revolutionary history” has had an elemental role in her foundation and view of life.

“My humble beginnings have also shaped my outlook. I learned how to make a lot with little means, and to find value in scarcity.”

She adds that her mother’s diligence taught her the art of hard work, which in turn sparked her passion for transformation.

The quest for transformation led her to Senatla Capital, whose sole purpose is to transform the South African economic landscape by creating a multi-strategy alternative investments platform that is an efficient allocation of capital between institutional investors and the emerging black industrialist class in South Africa.

Her appointment as head of private equity at Senatla Capital marked a pivotal point in her career, however. Over the last decade, she has played a significant role in transforming family-owned businesses into sustainable corporatised entities.

“Succession planning, bottom-line optimisation, and diversity advocacy are at the core of my initiatives,” she says.

Living a purpose

Thato says that the journey with Senatla Capital has been a committed one. “It’s about more than just numbers, it’s about purpose and transformation.

“I am intentional about contributing to female empowerment in the finance industry, and I do this by growing those around me,” she adds.

She views her work as more than just a job:

“It’s a platform to live purposefully, as a young woman in an industry with a gender gap.”

She explains that she recognises the value of diversity and the significant role women play in advocating for financial inclusion and societal upliftment.

“My view is that there has been a continued expectation for women to fit into a financial services system or culture that has been inherently structured for males.”

A significant achievement for Thato was the landmark deal in the advertising industry, which saw Joe Public United become the largest black-owned independent advertising agency in South Africa.

“This deal not only transformed the industry, but also empowered women through mezzanine finance structures, promoting shareholding in a sector facing transformational challenges,” she says.

Changing the narrative

One of the recent leadership challenges that she enjoys is balancing motherhood responsibilities with her career. “As a recent mum with a one-year-old baby girl, I am aware of the challenges women face in multitasking work and home responsibilities.”

She expresses a concern that the role of childcare remains a critical factor influencing women’s participation in the job market.

“Women are increasingly expected to juggle their work and household responsibilities, essentially working around the clock. This pressure often leads them to decline promotions or neglect their work duties.”

She also emphasises that recent circumstances have highlighted the necessity for robust and enduring childcare systems.

This challenge has become her driving force in life to be an exemplary figure for her daughter. She strives to show that women’s voices matter and that their potential is limitless.

“My commitment to instilling good values and building a legacy for my children extends to contributing to financial inclusion and societal upliftment through impact,” she says.

Embrace who you are

Thato’s advice to her younger self, and young people, is to “embrace their unique attributes, introduce themselves truthfully, and be open to vulnerability.”

She emphasises the value of authenticity and encourages young people not to be limited by their backgrounds and circumstances, but to rise by creating value in scarcity.

In her free time, she dedicates herself to her family and her toddler. Additionally, she passionately engages in courses and programmes that uplift societies, such as clothing drives and early child development initiatives.

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