Exclusive Interview: Featuring CEO: SA Tobacco Transformation Alliance.

Estimated read time 3 min read

One of South Africa’s creative CEOs recently spoke with Africa Talks Business.
who is referred to as Tobela Tapula.
Tobela Tapula describes his journey and how he arrived at his current position.
Tobela, who is based in South Africa, claims he wants to address the nation’s problems with unemployment and food security.
Tobela discusses the lack of change in the private sector and how it is now necessary to take action. His zeal has brought him into contact with ministers, governors, and a variety of other professionals.

Read More.

Just a background on you and how you started.

“I grew up in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape, in the 80s, raised by my father who was a disciplinarian, but valued education.  He taught me that I would never break the circle of poverty without education, most importantly he taught me the importance of respecting other people, regardless of their socio-economic background. 
I started my career as a civil servant, working for the City of Cape Town. This happened after I had completed my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Public Policy at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban. This was a great experience for me, working in the ‘big city’, for one of the municipalities that were chosen to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”

What impact would you like to make in Africa? 

“I want to work with partners (government, private sector, civil society and communities) to deal with food insecurity and unemployment. This could be done by developing agricultural projects that are sustainable.”

What challenges are you currently facing in your career? 

“What is giving me sleepless nights, is the lack of transformation in the private sector, including my industry. We all know that transformation is not an overnight exercise, but companies have lost interest in empowering the previously disadvantaged South Africans. There are few industries that have demonstrated the willingness to empower black women in their top/executive management positions. 
The main challenge that I am facing now, is to get partners to support and migrate black tobacco farmers to grow other profitable crops, because the legal tobacco industry has declined drastically.   
Another challenging aspect of my job is to fight and defeat the illicit tobacco trade, which is 62% of our industry. We continue to work with law enforcement agencies to address this, but we need political will to fight it.”

Tell us more about your relationship with President Thabo Mbeki, and the work you did with him?

“I used to work for the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, where I was project managing the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library. This is one of the iconic projects on the continent because the project is about the restoration of our dignity as Africans. 

I had a professional relationship with him, where I was required to present a status report about the project. It was a humbling experience to work for his Foundation and I still support his vision.”

Where is your career headed? 

“My interest is to work with young people who are interested to venture in the mining, manufacturing and agriculture industries. I’m particularly interested to do more work in these industries because they have the capacity to change the fortunes of any country.”

What does success mean to you?

“It means being genuinely passionate about changing the lives of other people.”

Learn more about Tobela here – https://www.linkedin.com/in/tobela-tapula-15b8a744/

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours