Nobuhle Ndlovu: the South African Investment Banker Redefining Success

By Duchess Magazine

In the often-male-dominated realm of private equity, Nobuhle Ndlovu emerged to set a new goalpost, shattering glass ceilings and redefining success on her terms.

Originally an investment banker, Ndlovu’s journey took a unique turn as she transitioned into the dynamic world of private equity in South Africa. However, her trajectory wasn’t without its challenges. As one of the few women in a corporate finance team of around 50, Ndlovu faced the stark reality of gender imbalance, not just in New York but notably in her home country, South Africa.

“I recall thinking, ‘wow, in South Africa, this is still a thing’; I get it in New York, but South Africa?” Ndlovu reflects on her early days in the corporate finance landscape.

Despite the hurdles, Ndlovu approached her career with a determination not to prove herself but to continuously strive for personal and professional growth. “For me, it was about ‘how do I get to the next thing’. There’s not a lot of faces that look like me, so it was trying to balance that and doing my best to include others to pay it forward,” she notes.

Her journey has been marked by a series of achievements and global experiences. Awarded a full scholarship to Canada, Ndlovu pursued Economics and International Politics, becoming fluent in Mandarin Chinese along the way. Her academic prowess further led her to an MBA from the University of Oxford.

The pivotal shift towards private equity came after a stint at Standard Chartered. Ndlovu recognized the potential impact of her work, stating, “The NGO space has a lot of wastage; I liked the concept of making a difference but being able to quantify it.”

Joining Kasada Capital Management as a vice president, Ndlovu found her niche in real estate private equity, particularly in the hospitality sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Her role involves not only navigating the complexities of the industry but also contributing to the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans cohort in 2021.

Describing her work, Ndlovu explains, “Hospitality is such an interesting space, but it’s also about creating spaces that people want to spend their time and money in.” Her current focus spans sub-Saharan Africa, and she finds fulfillment in supporting the region’s growth through her contributions.

Reflecting on her journey, Ndlovu emphasizes the importance of adaptability, especially in the diverse markets of sub-Saharan Africa. “It’s about how you balance risk and return all the time and having the right people in place to buy and manage assets.”

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