Johannesburg – Philanthropist, entrepreneur and social activist Tshepiso Phosa has stepped out of her political activist parents’ spotlight to build her very own legacy, adding the title of author to her growing list of accomplishments.
The daughter of former premier of Mpumalanga and ANC NEC member, Mathews Phosa, and his businesswoman wife, Pinky, recently launched her leadership memoir, Fuelling Futures – From Influence to Impact, which she co-authored with personal brand philosopher and author Timothy Maurice Webster.
Phosa, who has carved a career in the petroleum industry, says her book is a platform to share her business and work experience, address workplace oppression of women, open conversations and share practical tips on bouncing back from social injustice.
“Fuelling Futures – From Influence to Impact is also a manual for me to speak to young professionals and give them guidelines on how to create business plans and general planning. We offer practical advice to different age groups on how they can work together in harmony,” said Phosa.
As expected of a memoir, the 28-year-old Phosa delves deeper and openly shares her heart-wrenching experiences of being raped by a neighbour when she was six years old, living with depression and attempting to take her life and surviving physical abuse at the hands of a romantic partner.
“I became suicidal at many points in my life. I suffered in silence, with only my sister aware of what I was going through simply because I didn’t want to trouble my parents because they had worked hard for me. Being a politician’s daughter, people believed I had it easy. But I had emotional struggles, fought depression and had to live with this secret out of fear,” Phosa told the Sunday Independent in a candid interview.
“I had to be honest with myself and accept what had happened and take steps to heal because I wanted a better life for myself,” she said.
Before writing this book, Phosa was already deeply involved in community activities, especially working with marginalised women and young girls in her home province of Mpumalanga. This book, she explained, was an extension of the work and her passion for uplifting young people to realise their dreams.
“These conversations are still very important even today because societal ills are getting worse,” she said.
Her co-writer, Timothy Maurice Webster, said Phosa’s story of triumph against the odds proved that reverse role-play was possible and that women can rise above gender-related attacks. He also pointed out that their book also serves as a handbook that will open conversations and inspire women of all ages and professions to be positive and not allow their history to dictate their destiny.
“When you read the book, you’ll want to cheer Tshepiso on and at the same time be positive and clap for your own future,” said Webster.