Cape Businesswoman Shirley Zinn Triumphs, Appointed Chairman of the V&A Waterfront Group

Cape Businesswoman Shirley Zinn Triumphs, Appointed Chairman of the V&A Waterfront Group

  • The life and times of one of South Africa’s top businesswoman Dr Shirley Zinn, 60, can only be described as nothing short of a Cinderella story
  • In 2015, the businesswoman-turned-author released an autobiography detailing her rags-to-riches story
  • Dr Shirley Zinn has taken on a new challenge as the chairman of the V&A Waterfront Group

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In a society where top management is dominated largely by men, Dr Zinn has proven to be a formidable contender who is unafraid to shatter the glass ceiling and ruffle the status quo.

Shirley Zinn, V&A Waterfront Group, chairman, businesswoman, age 60
Dr Shirley Zinn, a Cape businesswoman, has overcome many social ills to reach her dreams and been appointed chairman of the V&A Waterfront Group. Images: UGC
Source: UGC

Her meteoric rise, showcasing enviable resilience, has seen her elevate herself from the dusty streets of the Cape Flats to the insides of swanky boardrooms of powerful corporations.

She holds two Master’s degrees; one from the University of the Western Cape and the other from Harvard University in the United States. Another notable achievement is her Doctorate degree from Harvard.

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She is known as one of the country’s best Human Resource professionals and currently runs her own consultancy business. Her career has seen her serve on many boards including Sanlam, MTN-SA, Afrocentric, Adv Tech and the Spur Corporation.

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In November, 2015, she penned a moving autobiography titled Swimming Upstream, which speaks to the triumphs and the human tragedies that have befallen her. The book takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and ultimately highlights the impermanence and fragility of human life.

A chapter in the book dedicated to the tragic passing of her only son Jamie, 7, being a true testament to that.

Briefly News spoke to Erica Williams, 53, who grew up a road away from Dr Zinn in Steenberg in Cape Town on how she is a beacon of light in the darkness of poverty.

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“She is a real inspiration. She is a go-getter who never gave up. Gangsterism, drug abuse and poverty are widespread in Steenberg but she never let that affect her. We are not, very far apart in age and look at how much she has achieved?” she said.

Briefly News also spoke to her cousin Nicole Heynes:

“Shirley Zinn’s is a Cinderella story. A tale of a tenacious woman, who rose above the poverty of the Cape Flats to Ivy league lecture halls and the boardrooms of some of South Africa’s biggest enterprises. Her life is also an account of how immense personal tragedy, and picking yourself up and carrying on, shapes you”.

In mid-2021, she was appointed the chairperson of the V&A Waterfront.

According to IOL, the V&A Waterfront is one of South Africa’s most successful public-private partnerships. At her book launch, Dr Zinn told IOL that many of us face issues that can take us down a slippery slope.

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“We face financial difficulties and relationship issues, but we have to find a way to see the gift or silver lining in adversity”.

Meet Emmanuel Mudau, the man who quit his job, bought 3 goats and now owns a successful farm

Meanwhile, Briefly News reported that for Emmanuel Mudau, farming came as a sweet blessing that's afforded him the opportunity to dream big. He is now raking in some banknotes, all thanks to his involvement in farming.

Things just were not moving in the right direction for him at the furniture shop and he decided to tender his resignation. But the hardships of life quickly caught up with him after he had resigned.

"The thought of doing something big with my life is what propelled me to quit my job. I did not hesitate to quit after I had decided what I wanted to do with my life. Like most rural bred kids, farming was a beacon of hope while growing up. I was raised by a single father and I grew up in abject poverty.

He eventually decided to look for goats and hasn't looked back since.

Source: Briefly News

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