Itumeleng Sekhu is the Founder and Managing Director of the Itumeleng Sekhu Foundation and an author of a book titled What Do You See? She graduated from the University of Johannesburg where she completed a BA in Audiovisual Communications, majoring in Communications, Psychology and Media Studies sponsored by the Dis-chem Foundation.
Whilst at varsity, she became an intern for ONE Gospel Channel and Friends Like These on SABC 1. In the same year she worked as a content producer for The Sound Revival Show and The Scared Space on Metro FM. She was also a Project Manager for the Sbusiso Leope Education Foundation where hundreds of students were assisted with bursaries to go to tertiary. As a project manager, she was in charge of organizing seminars in South Africa which brought together esteemed entrepreneurs.
In 2014, she became a researcher for the SABC 1 TV show Making Moves at Bonngoe TV. She also contributed to many other organizations, a few being, Map Christ as a Communications Manager and a Brand Ambassador for Dove Unilever. She is also a Social Media Manager for I Do Magazine. She has currently launched her new venture of manufacturing candles. She says she lives to enlighten people’s lives and assist them in discovering their inner lights through these candles to ensure that people reach their full potential. She got burnt from a candle when she was 11 months old and her right hand as well as four fingers on her left hand is amputated. She however, did not allow that to dim her light and she can humbly state that she is fulfilling her purpose in the media industry in both television as well as radio for the past 6 years. She has one finger which is her thumb but yet she can type 35 words per minute and she can drive herself anywhere in the world.
What do you see? is a gripping autobiography and testimony of the indomitable human spirit. This story is an illustration of her life and her ability to be at the odds that were so heavily stacked against her…starting with the fire that nearly destroyed her life. The chapters of the book take us on an emotional journey, firstly through the physical pain, after the fire and then through the roller coaster ride of the pain she endured as a young girl who was rejected and ridiculed because she was different. She keeps the story real by telling it like it is and it is this authenticity, so wittily tinged with traces of humour, that captures the reader’s attention. What do you see? shows how her sheer determination and drive to not just survive but to live her life as God intended and sustained through the highs and lows. In this book she explains how she moved from anger and frustration to a close relationship with God.
The book brings forth leadership skills, self motivation and encouragement, healing of inner wounds in all individuals, purpose driven life, boosts self esteem, confidence, a desire to succeed, self introspection, ambition and passion for life.
Itumeleng’s life is an instant example of how one can come from a negative impact to changing one’s life to success and ultimately reaching their full potential.
Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.
I am a woman of tenacity, resilience, strength and believe in the power that I have within. This results in me being the women that I am today, and I am a woman of faith and completely believe in Jesus Christ’s redemption for our lives, which helps us to live our lives fully and to reach our full potential in who and how we are meant to serve through our purposes in life. My journey started basically from the age of 11 months which literally changed everything.
How I view life, my purpose and how my life can ultimately assist others in reaching their full potential. Also going through a stage of non-acceptance and eventually tried taking my life three times because the pain and agony of being burnt in society was too much but eventually found myself and changed my mindset which resulted in my career in the media industry and ultimately having my own foundation to help people.
Please tell us a little more about how your company came about.
I was the brand ambassador for Dove Unilever motivating young children in schools across South Africa and through that project I ultimately learnt that people have scars within which encouraged me to take the next step of starting my own foundation of bringing hope and healing to people through my story.
Please tell us a little more about your book, What Do You See?
What Do You See? Is a memoir of my story to inspire people to stop feeling sorry for themselves. It’s a story of my indomitable spirit through various challenges in my life of society, car accidents, definitions of beauty as well as having to deal with myself and being more self-accepting to going through tertiary to having a career in the media industry, writing a book and having a business. Basically, to say to people, we all have a story to tell you can either feel sorry for yourself or you can make life work positively by changing one’s mindset.
What inspired you to write it?
The Department of Education wrote my story as a comprehension around 2013, 2014 and matriculants around South Africa wrote back to me to tell me how inspired and motivated they were so I then decided to write my book.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Not really, but I will say we need more authors in South Africa. The myth that people do not read is a lie. People just need a book that they can relate to so total honesty in a book is the first ingredient and be as real as possible because people can receive that from your book.
You are busy with some very interesting initiatives. Please tell us a little more about that.
We currently adopted a school in Soshanguve, Pretoria and as a foundation we are renovating the school, mentoring the children and ensuring that the children from that school reach their full potential. We are also currently traveling and speaking across corporates, events, social gatherings and challenging people to reach their life to the fullest.
Lastly, we are launching my book across countries now. We launched the book across South Africa and recently we launched the book in the Seychelles and in November we are launching the book in Kenya. The team is super excited about launching in Africa and ultimately the world.
What is it that you are passionate about?
I love travelling but I’m most passionate about changing people’s mindsets which ultimately changes people’s lives for the better.
What is your personal motto?
Live life to the fullest and reach your full potential.
Who or What has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
My mother and a few other people. I learn different and various strengths, characteristics, life lessons from different people. But my mom has played an immense role in my life. Her strength still astounds me even till today. From picking me up from the bed when I was burning to rushing me to hospital. My dad divorcing her after my accident because he couldn’t handle the emotions that came with having a burnt child. To my mom being blamed and feeling guilty, to her ensuring I receive the best hospital care and the best school for the physically challenged in South Africa. My mom’s strength is a replica of the Bible saying: “I will never give you what you can’t handle”.
Who or what is your inspiration and why?
My purpose inspires me to wake up everyday to reach lives and bring even if it’s one life into completion then I am happy.
What advice would you give a woman wanting to follow her dreams?
JUST DO IT!
What advice would you give your younger self?
It’s okay – life has happened but you are loved and are very important.
Your favourite daily affirmation:
I don’t have one, but I do love different quotes which I quote from time to time in my talks and quotes that I believe and live on for instance here’s a few:
“Make your life a masterpiece, imagine no limitations on what you can be, have or do.” ~Brian Tracy
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” ~Oprah Winfrey
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.” ~Judy Garland
“A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of allowing your circumstances to have power over you.” ~Joyce Meyer
“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.”
Your favourite quote:
“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is power.” ~Lao Tzu.
Which book are you reading now?
Pearls of wisdom by Jenna Clifford.
Which book can you read over and over again?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.
What are your top 3 business tips?
- Have a passion for what you do.
- Be committed.
What would you say is the secret to your success?
Self-awareness and knowing your sense of being.
One general piece of advice you would like to share:
Life happens to all of us, but some decide to get over it and live life. Also, a positive mindset will ensure you reach your full capabilities.
Is there anything that Xtraordinary Women can do to assist you on your journey?
To build a relationship so that together we can do so much more for the people of the world. I’ve learnt the power of relationships and uniting with other powerful people to reach a unified goal.