The mentor: Phumeza Mgxashe

Phumeza Mgxashe, the new  Business Developer for Partners for Possibility, shares her experience of the mentor / mentee relationship.


I signed up as Mentee for a structured mentorship programme launched by the Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) over a decade ago. I was a new manager and had a diverse portfolio. My two mentees were two business owners, who were running successful and growing enterprises. They advised me on delegation and upward communication. One was particularly big on reading to empower oneself. Years, later, again through the BWA, I was mentored by an entrepreneur who helped me access and optimise EQ development tools, for my personal growth.

In my early 30s, I signed up as a Mentor under the banner of Big Brothers Big Sisters, an international NGO that matches youth at risk with mentors. I mentored a young girl who lived in an orphanage. She had seen the ugliness of the world and I wanted to help her see and experience its beauty too. Every second Saturday, I spent a few hours with her. We had trips to the beach and museums; we went hiking and sometimes, shopping. I wanted her to know that children are meant to be loved and affirmed. Our relationship ended when she was reunited with her family two years later.


I mentored a young girl who had seen the ugliness of the world and I wanted to help her see and experience its beauty too.


A few years ago, two colleagues, who were interns in the dept I was running, asked me to mentor them. The organisation did not have a structured mentorship programme but I was able to draw on my own experience having been on the other side. This was an interesting journey of mutual learning. They were young, eager and very bright. I encouraged them to study
further, if conditions allow.

They have graduated with post-graduate qualifications; one is busy with a PhD and one is with a corporate in Johannesburg. Although I would now not call them my mentees, I continue to pop an email every once in a while to check up on them, and vice versa. They are people I genuinely care for.

Currently, I have very wise women in my life, who are my sounding boards. I consult them and seek their input,
especially when making important life decisions. Personally, mentorship has been invaluable to my life.


  • Phumeza Mgxashe is the Business Developer for Partners for Possibility.
  • Partners for Possibility is a leadership and principal support process through which business leaders and school principals are partnered in a reciprocal co-learning and co-action partnership where they work together to facilitate positive change at the school (while at the same time developing their leadership skills). The programme is typically funded by companies who want to invest their CSI and skills development funds in a meaningful initiative.