- Thuli Tabudi went from scrubbing floors in Soweto to becoming a doctor and a group HR executive at Spar
- Tabudi explained how having a child at the age of 19 almost made her miss out on life
- Until an arrogant man came into the spaza shop she worked at one day and made comments that changed her life forever
While speaking to Adriaan Groenewald on the Leadership Platform, Tabudi spoke about her inspirational journey from a general cleaner to a powerful woman.
Tabudi grew up in Soweto but was shipped to Ladysmith in Natal where she attended school while staying at her aunt and grandmother’s house.
She recalls being pregnant at the time she graduated from high school, adding she moved back to her parents to work at as a general assistant at a spaza shop.
The job was not paying much, but Tabudi said she had to do something to get extra cash for baby formula.
Tabudi joked that she baked some many vetkoeks at the shop that no one could make it better than her.
However, on one faithful day an arrogant man and his friends walked into the shop and started asking why young girls like Tabudi were scrubbing floors in a place like that.
According to Tabudi, the arrogant man said, “These are the girls who were fetched at KwaZulu-Natal, these are the girls who would never become anything in life”.
She added he said the owner assisted the women because it was all they could ever become in life.
Tabudi said although the girls were said, she said they must not accept what he said because it was not true. She added she went home and cried the whole night.
The man’s hurtful comments pushed Tabudi to re-evaluate her decisions. She concluded that she had to turn her life around for the sake of her child.
She went to her father and asked for a loan, but he said she could not go to university because she had a child to look after.
Tabudi recalled telling her father she only wanted to do a secretarial certificate locally, and then she could find a job.
She did her one-year diploma, and then she got a job as a secretary. From there she studied further to obtain her PhD and continued to climb the corporate ladder to the position as Spar’s Group HR exec.
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