Yandisa Sokhanyile, winner of the Sun City pitching den, Standard Bank Top Women Regional Conference

Written by Staff Writer

Jul 17, 2019

Briefly tell us more about yourself and your journey thus far.

I am a mom to a beautiful daughter who is my biggest inspiration. I was born 35 years ago in rural Eastern Cape, in a small town called Mt Ayliff. For as long as I can remember, I have always been selling something from sweets and chips at school to doing assignments and CVs for classmates while studying.

I finished my matric at age 15 and it was the Y2K era when we were told that computers will crash so I went to Johannesburg to study Computer Engineering. I thought I was going to make a killing fixing computers. During weekends I worked for a promotions company at events, malls and also distributing flyers at traffic lights.I loved it!

I then started my first formal business at 19 – an entertainment company that specialised in brand, events and artist management. I had a 10-year plan to work in the entertainment industry for 10 years and then from my 30s onwards, work in the IT sector.

Today I am the founder and CEO of Konecta, a company that builds wifi networks and systems that gather analytics and enable value added services like advertising and consumer engagements over wifi.

As a woman in a leadership position, what have been some of your biggest challenges and successes?

With time I have managed to look past the gender issue especially in boardrooms and meetings. I no longer look at myself as female. I am a business person who is presenting her company. I am a coach and really passionate about people development. The challanges I face in busines are not necessarily gender based, they are often problems most startups and businesses go through. The upside is our laws are favouring women so there is no better opportunity to be a woman entreprenuer than right now, however, I do not want to be a complaince tool but be appointmented on merit of what we do.

Do you find that women often meet different challenges than their male counterparts?

The dominance of men in the tech industry is very visble. As women we still have to prove ourselves. I find that men generally are more open to each other and they seem to trust their male counterparts more which can lead to missed opportunites. As a woman you constantly have to prove yourself.

What are some of your greatest passions in life?

My family: they are my source of strenght and biggest support pillar.

Music: it just heals me and I was blessed enough to make a living out of it

Travelling: I’m passionate about brand Africa and I would love to work on brand Africa, changing the narrative and misleading stereotypes about our beautiful continent.

Rural empowerment: I’m an advocate for the advancement and empowerment of rural communities. I believe the greatest talent is lying idle in the rural communities – all they need is information, opportunities and someone to show them it’s possible.

If you could give your teenage self any advice, what would that be?

Love yourself, love others and love God!

Quick-fire questions

Who or what inspires you?

My 8-year-old daughter, Akwande. The woman I want to be. Everything I am doing right now is working towards being her.

What is your favourite getaway destination?

Locally it has to be the south coast of KZN. That’s the one place I can totally switch off because there is so much to discover – from world-class resturants, award winning botique hotels to amazing activities. Oh! Not to mention the coffee farms. It is an understated and a hidden gem.

If you could have dinner with any 3 people, who would they be and what would you serve?

Segun Agbaje
Byron Allen
Amanda Dambuza
I would serve any salmon dish and with a trio of dessert.

What would you do with an extra hour in your day?

I would call it “my Godly hour”. I would meditate, relax and have my conversation with God.

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