Dear Afrika: Meet Lalumbe Makuya

Lalumbe is a dynamic young South African woman with a passion for education! She has been widely recognized for the work she is doing in South Africa to increase literacy in rural communities and advocating for girls’ rights. Lalumbe has no interest in being “celebrated”,to her, we shouldn’t be celebrating service because as a matter of fact, building our own communities should be a norm and inculcated in our societies.

I met Lalumbe Makuya through the Young African Leaders Initiative, we participated in the same year. We hardly knew each other then, we had many mutual friends and were just two women who’s paths collided here and there. One afternoon I read about the work she was doing to advocate for girls’ rights and education in Venda, Lalumbe and I had kept threatening to have our “sit down”, I knew it was time. The sit down eventually happened and during our conversation we realized that beyond the passion we both had for developing young girls in Africa- we both loved God. Lalumbe’s work is informed by her deep sense of service and commitment to investing in others- my kind of girl! Fast forward, many “sit-downs” later, she agrees to share her story on Meet the Women: Afrika…


A woman, every woman needs to sit down with: Lalumbe Makuya.

The beginnings…

Lalumbe was born in the village of Ha-Makuya, nestled in the Northern parts of Limpopo, South Africa. The first of two children, her and her family moved from town to town in Limpopo due to her fathers work as an electrical engineer. Lalumbe went on to study and qualify as a Civil Engineer through the University of Johannesburg. After working in the construction industry as an engineer for 6 years- she made a decision that many would never understand, she resigned and founded her NGO ‘Naledi Foundation’ to enhance education and advocate for the rights of girls in rural South Africa.


In Her own words:

Where this African Woman is right now…

I am currently working for an international Organization which is focused on Education and Health in Villages working in 4 provinces in South Africa. This has become my learning curve as it is exposing me to different roles and responsibilities of running an NGO at a larger scale.When the opportunity to work with this organization presented itself  I was not too sure if I should accept or decline- as I was already running  Naledi Foundation.  After consulting my Mentor and Board members, we decided it was best that I accept this offer as it presented a great opportunity for capacity building and to learn what it really takes to grow an NGO at that scale. It was a huge challenge running an NGO with a construction industry background. At times you have to take a step back, be teachable and accept being taught how to survive in a new environment.


A time when I almost quit…

A year after resigning from Construction, I was running Naledi Foundation full time. I made some bad decisions which caused everything to go downhill within the organization. It created bad family relations and some friction with friends. I was ready to de-register the organization and just go back to Construction. It all changed after a conversation with a friend who talked sense into me. This period in my life made me realize that you need support, you need at least one person that you can be open to regarding you challenges you face. It is important to have support.

Where this African Woman is going…

At the moment I’m working towards building  Naledi Foundation into an international organization which specifically serves in rural areas to address education needs. We have extended our efforts to Ghana and we are extremely excited about this, it’s the stepping stones to reaching other rural communities on the continent.

What success looks like for Lalumbe…

Success for me will be when a Naledi Foundation no longer needs to be in existence because there is no education crisis in rural areas, that is what success looks like to me. Every African child accessing quality education. That’s a high bar to set but I truly believe that through collaboration we can solve a lot of the current challenges we are facing.

Her vision for Africa…

I want to see African youth rise up and  play a leading role in democracy, in sustainability and in development. Young people on the African continent are already rising against all the odds. We are headed in the right direction.

Dear woman in the making, dear woman in search of a dream…

The family you were born into or your birth geographic location does not determine your future. If your parents where poor, it is not your burden to carry. If your parents are wealthy, it is not your wealth. You need to work hard to mold your own future. Success is not inherited. YOU NEED TO WORK!

This is what generations will remember  Lalumbe for, this is why Afrika must meet her

I want to be remembered as a proud village girl who wanted to see the villages as an exciting and comfortable place to come from rather than a place you can’t wait to move out of. We need to be proud of where we come from, and thrive where we come from. 



I’m always inspired by Lalumbe’s great faith and tenacity. She is an accountability partner to many, including myself. This woman will never let you drop the ball on your dreams! Truly she will be remembered for being a woman who created a place for other woman at the table- be it at the united nations, or in a village in Ha-Makuya.


Read more and support Naledi Foundation here : contact them at

Also follow @NalediFouSa and @MakuyaLalu for updates.


Dear Afrika: Meet Lalumbe Makuya

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