Miss Nandipha Dlakavu

Senior Manager, Service Delivery Facilitation
The Office of the Premier of the Eastern Cape
East London, Eastern Cape
South Africa


At the time I received the study grant from the Kellogg Foundation, I had been an assistant teacher for 12 years at St. John’s College, one of the best performing schools in the Eastern Cape. I had a BA in English and Sociology, a Higher Diploma in Education and Honours in Education, yet I felt there was no hope for climbing the ladder to the next level at my school or in the surrounding area. Others had more experience and qualifications. The KSAL Fellowship gave me the confidence to go in a new direction. I got a Master’s degree in Public and Development Management. The leadership programme was rigorous and extremely helpful. It encouraged me to dream big, instilled the drive to succeed, and provided me with mentoring when I needed it. It gave me the opportunity to travel outside South Africa and experience other cultures. It also prepared me to hold my own with senior executives in the public, private and NGO sectors. The leadership programme taught us that it’s not about getting a job but about building a life for yourself. It’s about entrepreneurship. Apart from teaching, I was involved in a women’s community project in which women produced and sold orange juice and jam from an orchard supported by the Department of Agriculture. I wrote my MA thesis on rural enterprise and women and remain passionate about improving their lives. Through my ploughback project, engineering students were able to get experiential training in energy management, including conducting energy audits, that made them more marketable and employable. The KSAL programme taught me to assert myself and not let myself feel intimidated by people or situations. The programme enabled me to make a big career change from teaching to public management and development. After graduating, I made a modest start, working two part-time jobs in Johannesburg. When in 2007, I returned to the Eastern Cape with a new degree and work experience, I secured a job as a Deputy Director for Local Economic Development (LED) in the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism. For LED, I developed a model fund aimed at supporting small and rural businesses and implemented policies and procedures to prevent corruption and ensure the money reached the end-beneficiaries. In 2012, I was appointed the Director of the Policy Coordination Monitoring and Evaluation Programme in the Office of the Premier. This is exciting because the office is the nerve-center, coordinating the provincial Programme of Action and is tasked with ensuring effective and efficient performance.