Lillian Masebenza
Social Entrepreneur, Ashoka Fellow

Lillian Masebenza was left distraught and penniless with the dissolution of her marriage. Left to fend for herself and her three children, she became profoundly aware of the plight of many South African women who face a similar situation. Excluded from wealth and capital by apartheid in the past and exclusive BEE deals in more recent years, they frequently cede all financial control in their personal lives or remain in abusive relationships due to economic dependence.

As a result, Lillian has been inspired to start up Mhani Gingi, a social entrepreneurship network that has innovated traditional stokvels to incorporate components of skills training and investment for rural women.

As a devout Christian Lillian shares with viewers how overcoming her own personal hardship has taught her that we should not to let our struggle for survival erode our core values. She is also a firm believer in the healing benefits of singing, and participates weekly in her local church choir.

To remain spiritually anchored she attends Foundation’s courses, which are Christian based workshops that have helped her to dissolve her conceptual sense of self and connect more deeply with her true spiritual identity. She also nourishes her spirit by revelling in the “infinite mysteries of nature” and finds water especially therapeutic. She says that her daily walks along Blouberg beach have taught her much about life.

“It is our norms and values that is really our true wealth in life.”


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