National head of mentorship, Association of South African Black Actuarial Professionals
‘The road to qualifying as an actuary is gruelling and requires an incredible amount of tenacity and hard work, no matter how intelligent you are,” says one of the 66 black African qualified actuaries on the continent, Malizole Mdlekeza. In his current role as the national head of mentorship for the Association of South African Black Actuarial Professionals, Malizole spends his time helping other young black South Africans break into what’s arguably one of the most difficult professions.
He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Cape Town, and says that being at university opened the world up by exposing him to better career possibilities. He’s an evangelist on the diversity and variety of the skill set possessed by actuaries, skills that he believes are applicable to a range of areas within the financial services. He says he’s often surprised at how unaware the broader market is of this, and makes a mission of proving it otherwise.
As chairman of the Actuarial Society of South Africa Alternative Investment Committee, he has pioneered alternative investments — such as hedge funds, private equity, infrastructure investing and public sector related investments — within the actuarial profession and the South African investment market. He considers this field of investment to be specialised and a bit underdeveloped, another area within the actuarial profession that he has made his mission to raise awareness about, both within the profession and to the general investment market.
He believes that there is a huge lack of support for young people who excel at what they do in South Africa. In this country to get anywhere, “you really have to fight uphill battles, power through things and navigate uncharted territories”, he says.
He aims to leave behind a legacy of having contributed to the overall development of the profession in South Africa by helping more people from disadvantaged backgrounds break into the profession. “Seeing those who have benefited from mentorship on their road to passing exams, getting their degrees and eventually qualifying as actuaries has to be the main highlight of doing this work.”
— Welcome Lishivha