The Pan-Africanist leader and political activist, Marcus Garvey, once said that “with confidence, you have won before you have started.” CEO Dispute Resolution Official, Zwelakhe Thwala has confidence in spades. It’s a self-assurance that’s rooted in a keen sense of his responsibility to society, to young black professionals and to the employers he advises and assists each day.

Zwelakhe grew up in Kwamhlanga, Mpumalanga. “I grew up in a loving and supportive family,” he says. “My parents, grandparents and relatives played a significant role in making my childhood memories wholesome and treasured. They were able to make a young black child like me feel like he lacked nothing in this world!” He describes his parents as very hardworking, dedicated and ambitious people. “Their attitude and approach to life have naturally contributed to my character development. I am quite certain that without having had a front-row seat to their lives, I would not be who I am today!”

After studying at the University of Johannesburg, Zwelakhe says that, while serving articles of clerkship, he developed a particular interest and passion for Labour law. “This made me want to develop a specialised knowledge and practice for this field, which led me to join Consolidated Employers’ Organisation.” He says he likes the organisation’s dynamic workplace structure and culture. “The role that we serve in ensuring that our members are always up to date with the latest developments in their relative industries – combined with the fact that we are at the forefront of ensuring that they are properly represented at the Bargaining Councils – leads to quality representation and provides them with the sort of voice that trade unions give to their members.”

When asked how he thinks his friends and acquaintances would describe him, Zwelakhe puffs up and smiles; “I believe that after a lifetime of endless debate amongst themselves, they would unanimously resolve to describe me as the “perfect” friend and acquaintance!” The real answer from his friends: “He’s hilarious!” they laugh. On a more serious note, they describe him as confident, compassionate, passionate and pragmatic. “He’s not afraid of stepping into the whirlwind for his beliefs, his friends and his clients. “He believes that as humans we must always maintain a constant obsession to being more than what we are, and we can only do this by being conscious about our imperfections and having a desire to improve them.”

Zwelakhe is proud, and rightly so, of graduating with his LLB degree and subsequently being admitted as an attorney. “God made it all possible, whilst my grandparents and parents witnessed it all, and that for me is a blessing. I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams and hopefully a reference point for young black kids out there, especially in Kwamhlanga, to know that all dreams can be attainable and that with God, anything is possible!”

Find the courage to step into your whirlwind, greatness awaits you on the other side!