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What hiking has taught portfolio manager Bathobile Dube about overcoming obstacles and achieving success.

Bathobile Dube remembers how her father juggled two jobs in the US, at a university cafeteria and a gas station, to put himself and her mother through university. A young child at the time, she recalls only getting to see him on the weekends, in between work and studying.

Seeing her parents work for their education and achieve a Master’s in Business Administration (her father) and a PhD in Informatics (her mother) instilled in her the power of education. She says: “Gaining more education and knowledge benefits us in the future. It also pushes me to get [better] positions and grow as a female in the workspace that was always predominantly male.”

Inspired by her accountant father, Bathobile, who has always loved numbers, got a BCom Accounting degree and shortly after joined Sasfin.

She began her career as an investment incentive consultant, in what was then known as the Commercial Solutions Division. It was there that she discovered that along with numbers, her infectious personality made her thrive when dealing with clients. She completed Sasfin’s Business Xperience Programme (BXP), where she got the opportunity to learn about different business divisions and receive invaluable mentorship. From there she moved to the Sasfin Forex team as a forex sales relationship consultant. She later joined the Forex Risk Solutions Team as a portfolio manager, a position she currently holds and one that gives her the best of both worlds – numbers and people.

Bathobile is a natural at building relationships and says if anyone were asked to work from home, it would be her – because of the amount of time she takes to greet every person when she steps into the office! “When I arrive in the office, I make sure to greet everyone.” It’s the people, family culture, sense that you can have fun while working hard and recognition for work well done that she loves most about working at Sasfin.

But her path to success didn’t come without challenges. In 2019, Bathobile shares a pivotal moment that would lead her down a tough self-love journey. “I looked at myself in the mirror, I said: analyse yourself, undress yourself, dissect yourself… I did that and realised I just don’t like myself… I was living a filtered life.” She decided to slowly strip down the superficial, removing the layers of makeup, eyelashes and hair extensions and slowly learnt to love herself. She learnt to replace the words “I can’t” with the words “I can”. She says: “I went from I can’t, so I'll try and see if I can. If anything comes in and it doesn't compromise my principles or values, I’m doing it.”

One of the first things she did was take up hiking. What started as a way to get out of her head and cope with the loneliness of lockdown became a hobby that has taught her about overcoming obstacles and success.

She’s completed some of the most gruelling hikes, one being the Amatola, a completely self-supported 106km hike that takes place over six days in the Eastern Cape and is known as South Africa’s toughest hike.

Hiking has taught her to overcome obstacles: “[My best friend said to me] treat any relationship or obstacle that you go through as your toughest hike. At the end of the day, you're going to go through it and overcome it.” It’s those words she calls on when she gets to a crossroads to remind herself to keep pushing. “No matter the hurt, push. If you need to take a break, take a break. But you need to go back and return to where you're coming from.” The reward? The sweet calmness of the view from the top.

“Treat any relationship or obstacle that you go through as your toughest hike. At the end of the day, you're going to go through it and overcome it.”

Hiking, Bathobile says, is a lot like success: “It's about the journey to get to the destination. Just like success. You don't just wake up and be successful. It's a process every day.” She continues: “Success means being happy, being content, but at the same time wanting more.”

And while she wouldn’t take away anything about her journey, if she could tell her 18-year-old self one thing, it would be to love yourself. She says: “Love yourself, because if you do that, you can conquer anything.”

“Love yourself, because if you do that, you can conquer anything.”

Her story is far from over and Bathobile has plans to start her MBA, climb Mount Kilimanjaro and keep making sure her ideas are heard. When asked how she balances all her plans, she says simply by being intentional. “If you’re not intentional with doing things, it doesn't happen. You have to be intentional.”

About the Author

Elisheva Gilbert
Chief Marketing Officer, Sasfin Holdings Limited

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