Jambo Africa Online’s Publisher, SAUL MOLOBI, profiles South Africa’s UK-based competitive identity specialist, Pumela Salela.

Pumela Salela is Brand South Africa’s Country Head for the United Kingdom (UK). Brand SA is official custodian of South Africa’s nation brand. Last week on Saturday, 9 April, she was given the prestigious Euroknowledge Leadership Award 2022.

“Let me thank from the bottom my heart those who saw me fit to be deserving to have this award bestowed upon me,” she said with doses of humility. “It was totally unexpected and pleasantly surprised, I was diligently doing my work when I received such correspondence from the organisers.

The message read: “It is with great pleasure that Euroknowledge wish to inform you of your nomination for the prestigious Euroknowledge Leadership Award 2022. This award will be conferred on you during the Euroknowledge Leadership and Philanthropy Forum holding on 9 April 2022.

“This award is given specially to very dynamic business leaders with a great track record of creating and building great global institutions that have made far-reaching and positive contributions to several nations.

“Euroknowledge have followed your leadership and business moves with keen interest, building lives and top organization to achieve success. We are also beyond impressed that you continue to invest your resources, skills, experience into new ventures internationally.

“For these achievements and many more, you will be awarded the Prestigious Euroknowledge Leadership Award which is scheduled to be held at The House of Lords, London United Kingdom. It will be graced by doyens of the business community, policy makers, entrepreneurs, politicians, opinion leaders and the media.”

What work of excellence motivated the organisers to bestow such a prestigious accolade on her? “My role at Brand SA is to market South Africa in the UK, attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into South Africa, mobilise Global South Africans (GSA) abroad and to manage the brand reputation of South Africa,” says the sassy Pumela oozing with confidence.

Pumela’s star has always been shining. In 2018 she was featured as a “Powerhouse” in Destiny magazine. She is the 2018 recipient of the African Achiever Award. In 2019 she received the BRITISH Award for African Development. Prior to serving in this role Pumela was the Chief Director for Economic Policy Development and Planning at the then Department of Economic Development in South Africa.

The list of achievements goes on. The Rockefeller Foundation acknowledged Pumela’s contribution and innovation in formulating systems which address poverty by selecting her to be one of the 18 global recipients of its inaugural Global Fellowship on Social Innovation – which made her the only South African to receive such an honour.

Pumela also worked as a Consultant for the World Bank, based at the organisation’s headquarters in Washington D.C., United States.

These were preceded by her meteoric rise at the then Department of Trade and Industry where she was a Director: Business Provess Outsourcing (BPO) after she served time as a Deputy Director for Investment Promotion at the Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA).

A thought leader on competitive identity, Pumela has also been a lecturer in Strategic Brand Management at VEGA – The School of Branding.

This was based on a background solid with colourful academic credentials. She completed her MBA with distinction (cum laude) in England after receiving a Nelson Mandela Scholarship. Upholding the legacy of our global icon after whom the scholarship is named, the diligent and highly gifted Pumela didn’t just pass her examinations with distinction, but also received the Council Award for being the Best MBA student.

She has since been elected the Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Scholarship Alumni Association and a Mentor to the Graca Machel Scholars.

Her lustre was canonised in 2013 when she was featured in the book with an apt title: “South Africa’s Most Inspirational Women”. And the 2018 recognition by Destiny was a follow up to her 2012 profile as one of “South Africa’s Young and Powerful Achievers” and the 2013 the showcase as one of “the Top 40 young leaders, innovators and job creators in South Africa”.

Pumela’s passion for entrepreneurship is insatiable. She has also served as an On-air Advisor to investors on an Entrepreneurship Television Show called Rize Mzansi (Rise South Africa).

With this experience, expertise and commitment to contributing to brand positioning South Africa as a viable destination for investment and tourism while at the same time helping to open market access opportunities for “Made in South Africa” service and product brands, nobody will have a whiff of doubt that our country is well represented in Pumela.