Sibonile Dube: Beating odds stacked against her




Facing odds that seemed stacked against her, Zimbabwean born, Sibonile Dube has become a role model for overcoming the likelihoods in the communications sector.

Today, she is a renowned corporate strategist and integrated marketing communications expert, having worked for several global, multinational giants in various industries.

A former journalist with a local daily, Dube is currently the Head of Communications and Patient Advocacy for Novartis South Africa.

Dube also gained experience in communications in multinational companies such as Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, LANXESS and Nokia.

She is also a Director at LIV-Thomala, a not-for-profit organisation for orphaned children.

Despite challenges faced in male dominated career paths, the executive navigated her way to the top through the belief that there must be mutual respect and men should be viewed as partners rather than enemies.

“In my book I address the fact that as career women, we should view men as our partners and not enemies and those men must give us mutual respect as we also earn our way in corporations. This has helped me a lot as partnerships breed success,” Dube told Business Times.

Rising up the ladder in a career that was male dominated, Sibonile has managed to stay true to the bible as her only source of strength and hope.

Apart from practicing as a journalist, Dube also worked for Cairns Holdings, and Shabanie and Mashaba Mines in Zimbabwe.

She also has managed corporate social responsibility and sustainability programmes such as the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan which she led during her tenure as corporate affairs director for Unilever Southern Africa.

The former St James High School in Matabeleland North Province student is a holder of a Diploma in Journalism from Harare Polytechnic, a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Sociology and a Master of Management in Strategic Marketing from the University of Witwatersrand Business School, South Africa and also has a qualification in Strategy Execution from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Currently, Dube is pursuing PhD studies in Integrated Marketing Communications at the University of Witwatersrand.

Internationally, the executive said she has been inspired by global icon, Michelle Obama who played a major role in the Barack Obama administration behind the scenes while in Zimbabwe she draws inspiration from Securico founder, Divine Ndlukula who she claims to be a true reflection of pushing boundaries.

In terms of her favourite readings, the executive told Business Times: “It has to be the Bible first. It has solutions for every life problem, answers to all life situations and motivates us in difficult times like the days we live in.

Secondly, it would be books on leadership. My current read is “Leaders Eat Last’’ by Simon Sinek.”

She is also a mentor at the Phakama Women’s Academy, an initiative aimed at preparing final year female Advertising, Communications and Marketing university students for corporate.

She is a multiple award winner in the corporate sector and business community.

In 2018 she won the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (South Africa Edition) Professional of the Year Award, alongside other achievers such as Oliver Mtukudzi.

In 2019, she was a recipient of the Impact Award issued by a Switzerland based multinational for driving a menstrual hygiene project for girls in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Ivory Coast.

Dube might have been pulled down by the sisterhood, pushed down by the brotherhood, and trampled upon by the menacing tag-teams but this is the woman that is now working herself up the socio-economic strata and she is unapologetic of her success.

She has gracefully navigated all obstacles and traps designed to pull her back.

Apart from celebrating her own success, Dube has become a woman that is lifting others women as she ascends the corporate ladder, identifying business opportunities and cracking the secret codes of being a woman in a man’s world.

She refused to be defined by marriage and motherhood, for she is the best version of herself, with or without.

Her book which has to date inspired upcoming female corporate leaders is a clarion call for ladies to rise from the ashes and shoot up with class, excellence, and style without compromising beliefs and values.

She has authored a book, Climbing the Hill on Heels.

Dube is of the opinion that a woman should not just climb the hills before crawling on her belly, begging to be recognised but she should climb the hills on heels.

She is married to Melusi and the couple has three children. The corporate strategist also has a YouTube channel, Totally Inspired.


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