Dambuza’s undeniable influence
20 September 2021 | Art and Entertainment
At the heart of everything Amanda Dambuza does, there is a consistent message – that individuals should take personal responsibility for their lives, and to improve the world.
Dambuza is a South African award-winning businesswoman, CEO of Uyandiswa Project Management Services and author. She recently spoke to a group of women during an event hosted by Momentum Namibia in Windhoek.
There, they discovered how her journey to the boardroom was really ‘baked in pain’ – which is also the title of her recently released memoir.
For the second time, Momentum flipped the M to make it Womentum. The event aimed to acknowledge and celebrate women’s success.
After a full day when she arrived in Namibia on Friday, Dambuza emerged still sufficiently energised to take the day where it needed to go next – the Momentum talk.
The keynote speaker, she graced the stage with financial expert Afra Shimming-Chase, motivational speaker Sam Shivute and Momentum Namibia investment managing director, Evangelina Nailenge.
She shared with her audience how her road to this position of glowing achievements was filled with a traumatic childhood, abandonment, rejection and sexual and emotional abuse. She spoke about how she knew no love, nurturing, protection and support from those who gave birth to her. From birth, she was rejected because her parents wanted a boy.
“I was born a rejection,” she said. To make matters worse, Dambuza - the youngest of three children - said shortly after her birth, her mother left her father and she grew up in the Transkei, where she was abandoned by her mother. She has no relationship with her father or his side of the family.
“I had an incredibly abusive uncle who beat me every day for anything from not switching on the lights to not cooking what he wanted or not doing my homework at the appointed time. I had to tell myself that although I was going through all of that, one day I’d own my life.”
Dambuza said it is amazing how much time women spend trying to know their significant others and how they can please them.
“You can’t please nobody. If you haven’t mastered yourself, chances of being a great leader are none,” she stressed, adding that women need to stop looking at others’ lanes and concentrate on their own.
“Do you recognise that you are chosen or are you looking at other people’s lanes and thinking ‘oh my gosh, they have this and that’? You will miss out on the path that has been ordained for you,” she said.
The author spoke about seasonal shifts, saying she believes in every season, there’s an instruction for everything. This she uses as reference to her difficult childhood and how she made it through what she termed a “storm”.
“I hang onto the idea that I may be going through deep and dark time but light will come in the morning. I found solace under that big tree which was my only friend. It would produce stunning bright yellow flowers in the winter… It became a symbol for me, as I started appreciating how seasons changed. Seasons are God’s gifts to us. Seasons change, so do our circumstances,” she said.
Sadly, Dambuza is not the first - or last - child to grow up under the shadow of abuse and neglect. Such obstacles can be overwhelming and many have trouble ever rising above them, but those who do have developed a certain level of resilience.
She matriculated at Spectrum Girls High in Johannesburg and was accepted at the University of the Witwatersrand to study a bachelor of social sciences degree.
Life on campus was, however, not stress-free. Dambuza earned money from casual jobs and worked late nights to cover her living expenses while the National Student Financial Aid Scheme covered most of her academic costs. She left a successful corporate career to start Uyandiswa eight years ago.
After an emotional session, moments of laughter, exchanged tissues and with tears streaming down their cheeks, the women in attendance applauded Dambuza’s success and for “authentically telling her story”.
‘Baked in Pain’ is available via amandadambuza.com, while the ebook version is available on Amazon. Requests for physical copies can be made via [email protected]