27 October 2021

Women dominate 2021 Rising Star Awards

Submitted by Vanessa Naude
Women dominate 2021 Rising Star Awards

Hosted by Tumi Morake with entertainment by Pop Idols winner Zama, the Accenture Rising Star Awards brought together the very best of South Africa’s future leaders in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the awards at the Sandton Hilton last night. Of the 11 categories – representing diverse sectors of business and industry – seven were won by women.

Featuring the Top 5 young professional under 40 in 11 different business sectors, the Awards celebrated their best year yet. Amidst tough competition in each of the categories, the winners are:

  • Banking & Financial Services (Sponsored by SA Taxi) - Niren Mungar Ram, Absa
  • Energy & Environment (Sponsored by Sasol) - Mantsie Hlakudi, Eskom
  • Entrepreneur (Sponsored by IAMS Powerhouse Consulting) - Veronica Motloutsi, SmartDigital Solution
  • ICT (Sponsored by Absa) - Apiwe Hotele, SARAO
  • Manufacturing & FMCG (Sponsored by BAT) - Ntsako Baloyi, Coca-Cola South Africa
  • Media & Advertising - Philile Mabolloane, Juta & Company
  • Mining & Minerals (Sponsored by Rand Refinery) - Thomas Conolly, Anglo American Platinum
  • Professional Services (Sponsored by Accenture) - Charity Simamane, PwC
  • Service: Public & Private - Melene Rossouw, Women Lead Movement
  • Tourism, Retail & Hospitality (Sponsored by Hilton) - Lazo Karapanagiotidis, Massmart
  • Transport, Logistics & Security - Amber Louise Sterley, Fidelity Services Group
  • Inspirational Leader - Prof Thuli Madonsela
  • Rising Star Upliftment Award - Accenture South Africa (2019-2021)

Over the past nine years, the Accenture Rising Star Awards have been identifying, recognising and celebrating young talent across all industries in South Africa, and this the tenth year is no different. Judges commended this year’s winners for their clarity of vision, all round excellence, sustainable solutioneering, meaningful and empowering social initiatives, and remaining resolute in making a profound difference in peoples’ lives.

“We are delighted to have received so many entries from across the country, highlighting the depth of corporate and public sector talent in our country. In the dramatically changing business world we find ourselves in, South Africa needs leaders with agility and the ability to lead teams to embrace different ways of thinking to empower them to identify and seize opportunities. It is these qualities that we recognise in this year’s winners,” says Laura Barker, CEO of BlackBark Productions, organisers of the Rising Star Programme. Commenting on the 10-year anniversary of the awards, she says, “It is encouraging to see these awards grow year-on-year – it means our goal of recognising and developing talent is real, especially in these extraordinary times.”

The Awards recognise young, talented employees in the 28 to 40 year age category, and form part of a unique platform where winners can go beyond just the recognition for work already done and be inspired to reach for the stars.

This year’s event also featured a selection of previous winners competing against each other in the Rising Star Showdown Quiz. Members included Ravi Nadasen (CEO, Inspired Education Group), Nkuli Bogopa (COO, Broll Property Group), Tamzin Gray (Executive: Business Sales, Epson Europe BV), Jacques Greeff (Chief Excellenoce Officer, Unitrans), Nonala Tose (Radio presenter and producer) and Terance Nkosi (Executive Head: SHEQ and Technical Assurance, Rand Refinery).As headline sponsor, Accenture is committed to nurturing young leaders who will help shape the destiny of Africa. “This continent is our home and we have a role to play in driving growth. The Rising Star platform helps us do exactly that,” says Keshnie Martin, HR Lead for Accenture in Africa. “This year, we had another excellent group of young leaders going through to the finals, and the judges had their work cut out for them!”

The finalists in the Accenture Rising Star Awards 2021 were:

Banking & Financial Services Sponsored by SA Taxi

  • Ashley Byles, Regional Manager, Old Mutual
  • Candice De Villiers, Underwriter, Bryte Insurance Company
  • Thamage Lesito, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager, Momentum Asset Management
  • Zanele Mabena, Executive: Change & Business Transformation, Standard Bank
  • Winner: Niren Mungar Ram, Head of Analytics Enablement, Absa

Energy & Environment Sponsored by Sasol

  • Ntitiseng Moloi, Supervisor: Power Plant Operations, Biotherm Energy
  • Nompumelelo Dlamini, Civil Engineering Manager, Eskom
  • Francois Sieberhagen, Executive Head: Human Resources, VKB Agriculture Group of Companies
  • Kagiso Hlabahlaba, Snr Solutions Architect SAP HR, Sasol
  • Winner: Manstie Hlakudi, Chief Engineer, Eskom

Entrepreneur Sponsored by IAMS POWERHOUSE CONSULTING

  • Linda Maponyane, Managing Director, Kenako Media House
  • Talifhani Mamafha, Managing Director, Analytics Advertising
  • Nneile Nkholise, CEO, 3DIMO
  • Miso Nhlangulela, Managing Director & CEO, JayBerry Smoothie
  • Winner: Veronica Motloutsi, CEO, SmartDigital Solution

ICT (Telecoms & Technology)

  • Kabelo Kgodane, Business Development Manager: SubSaharan Africa, SITA Aero
  • Mapula Monyela, Specialist: Project Leader, Vodacom
  • Tebogo Matlou, Snr Manager: CVM Commercial & Platforms, MTN
  • Fayaz Cassim, Regional Programme Manager, Dark Fibre Africa
  • Winner: Apiwe Hotele, Technology Commercialization Specialist, South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO)

Manufacturing & FMCG Sponsored by British American Tobacco SA

  • Zainab Mohamed, Category Brand Manager, Mondelēz International
  • Tracy Nkabinde, Home Care Category Media Lead, Unilever
  • Sivenasen Moodley, Head of Customer Management, British American Tobacco
  • Werner Koen, Cosmetic Channel Head, Revlon & Elizabeth Arden SA
  • Winner: Ntsako Baloyi, Environmental Manager, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa

Media & Advertising

  • Lindiwe Dhlamini, Label & Marketing Manager, The Orchard
  • Yolisa Zeka, Account Manager, Grey Advertising
  • Kalycia Urquhart, Co-Founder & CEO, Digital Doorway
  • Anthony Kirkwood, Creative Director, Big Red Design Agency
  • Winner: Philile Mabolloane, Chief Revenue Officer, Juta and Company

Mining & Minerals Sponsored by Rand Refinery

  • Mariette Swart, Corporate Financial Manager, Afrimat Limited
  • Pity Pheko, Production Section Manager, Anglo American Thermal Coal
  • Sikelela Nzuza, Engineer Compliance Projects: Black Rock Mine Operations, Assmang
  • Lorren Jordt, Snr Manager Surface & Mineral Rights, Anglo American Platinum
  • Winner: Thomas Conolly, Snr Asset Manager, Anglo American Platinum

Professional Services Sponsored by Accenture

  • Zama Ngcobo Managing Partner, WMN Attorneys Inc.
  • Shirleen Ritchie Salaried Partner, Webber Wentzel
  • Mpho Zim, Manager: Technology Strategy, Accenture
  • Tanya Boretti, Accenture AWS Business Group (AABG) Market Development, Accenture
  • Winner: Charity Simamane, Snr Manager, PwC

Service: Public & Private

  • Wayde Groep, Capacity Building & Knowledge Manager, Youth & After School Programme Office, Western Cape Goverment
  • Gundo Nevhutanda, Legal Counsel, Public Investment Corporation
  • Leenta Grobler, Associate Professor & Acting Director: Business Development, North-West University
  • Zainab Seria, Executive Legal: Compliance Corporate Relations, ITHUBA Holdings
  • Winner: Melene Rossouw, Executive Director, Women Lead Movement

Tourism, Retail & Hospitality Sponsored by Hilton

  • Dorcas Dlamini, Area Director of Sales & Distribution – Sub Saharan Africa, Marriott International
  • Zunaid Habib, Regional Operations Manager, Massmart
  • Candice Jamieson, Snr Manager: Information Risk & Privacy, Pick n Pay
  • Refilwe Tleane, Snr IT Demand Manager, Massmart
  • Winner: Lazo Karapanagiotidis, Digital Omnichannel Executive, Massmart

Transport, Logistics & Security

  • Kutloano Modise, SHEQ Manager, Imperial Logistics
  • Carli Venter, Marketplace Strategic Executive, Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions
  • Tendai Sigauke, Inventory Manager, DB Schenker
  • Mathandi Nkosi, Snr Manager: Process Governance, Transnet SOC
  • Winner: Amber Louise Sterley, HR Manager, Fidelity ADT – A division of the Fidelity Services Group


Sponsors for the 10th Annual Accenture Rising Star Awards include Accenture, BAT, Hilton, Rand Refinery, IAMS Powerhouse Consulting, Absa, SA Taxi, Sasol, Wamly.


The Rising Star Programme is operated by BlackBark Productions and is now in its tenth year. It recognises, celebrates and connects young talented individuals who can excel in their chosen fields, and who contribute to the betterment of our nation in an inspiring way.

The Rising Star Programme is establishing a living community of young professionals and entrepreneurs that will be developed and mentored, enabling them to become opinion leaders and role models for those who will follow in their footsteps.

Rising Star has successfully recognised over 500 young individuals over the past nine years in its programme in South Africa and Kenya.

Visit www.risingstarawards.co.za  for more information or contact Tanya for details on how to get involved:

Tanya Smalberger
Head of Events BlackBark Productions
+27 21 788 2305
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