Born into poverty, Tshifhiwa Munzhelele knows how to work hard, and gives back while doing it.
For Tshifhiwa Munzhelele, uplifting disadvantaged communities is his legacy and helping people improve their lives is essential to achieving his passion. “I find fulfilment in uplifting disadvantaged communities,” he says.
Hailing from poverty-stricken Limpopo, Tshifhiwa says he understands the notion of building from scratch, which is patience and diligence. “I think the greatest thing I learned was that if you want to build a career in a specific industry, you need to be willing to start at the bottom and prove yourself,” he says.
He adds that young people should understand the importance of different timelines in life:
“There’s a time for building and a time for reaping rewards, and the building phase often requires sacrifice. It’s crucial not to confuse these timelines and to persevere through the building phase, knowing that the rewards will come in due time."
Tshifhiwa is a chartered accountant who serves as a senior associate at Private Equity Norfund. He was attracted to the company because of its interest in helping to address the energy crisis in South Africa.
Tshifhiwa did his articles at KPMG, where he qualified as a CA and worked as an auditor. He moved from auditing to junior investment analyst at Sanlam Private Wealth, and is now in private equity, a career move he describes as “an interesting and fulfilling journey”.
His main objective is to help the company identify potential investment opportunities to address the energy crisis in the Southern Africa region.
Norfund is a development finance institution that funds renewable energy projects in South Africa. The company also backs three wind projects by EDF Renewables, part of Bid Window 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme.
He adds that his decision to move to Norfund was inspired by the opportunity to be at the forefront of solving the energy crisis in the country.
“The severe loadshedding situation motivated me to join an organisation that is actively working towards finding sustainable energy solutions.”
What interests him about the company is the ability to facilitate investments that include community development budgets, which enables the company to make a positive impact on local communities by building schools, clinics, and other essential infrastructure.
This resonates well with Tshifhiwa’s passion for helping and uplifting disadvantaged communities.
A Bono fide purpose
He is also the co-founder of the Bono Foundation. This non-profit organisation aims to educate young people from disadvantaged rural areas, where the quality of education is below average standard due to a lack of resources.
The Bono Foundation dream was bred in university, where Tshifhiwa and his business partners saw a need in addressing the shortage of information and resources available to high school students.
He adds that the organisation helps students with tutoring, mentorship, and career expos.
“It brings me immense joy to see the positive impact we make, and I am proud that the foundation has grown to have over 300 volunteers, reaching around 10,000 learners annually through various platforms,” he says.
His contribution to his community through the Bono Foundation and his work at Norfund also earned him a spot on the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) 2022 Top-35-Under-35 CAs(SA) competition.
The Top-35-under-35 is a competition that acknowledges and promotes CAs(SA) under the age of 35 who are making a remarkable difference.
Tshifhiwa said being included on the list was a life-changing experience as he got to formulate friendships and business arrangements. “The recognition came earlier than I anticipated. I was really excited when I got the email notification that I was one of the finalists. I was on the plane, eight hours in and tired, but when the email came in, suddenly I had so much energy and couldn’t contain the excitement,” he says.