Thuli MatlalaThuli Matlala, a zestful, self-motivated and driven working mother with a disability is passionate about people development. She is a Corporate Social Investment Manager and her work entails providing advisory services to corporates that participate in the Social Economic Development space. Her passion for people stems from her experiences as a person with a disability – at the age of 15 she was hit by a stray bullet at school which rendered her a paraplegic.

Thuli is a qualified bookkeeper, studied through Access College for the Disabled and also pursued studies in Business Management through the University of South Africa.

With the employment challenges faced by many persons with disabilities, a call centre job was an introductory point to open the labour market for Thuli in 2004 when she was employed by Dimension Data. In 2005 she was employed by Barloworld Limited as a corporate social investment officer where she took up the role of “disability concerns ambassador” for Barloworld Ltd.

In this position she played executive, advisory and advocacy roles through her involvement with a range of disability service organisations, including the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in SA. She was also awarded the prestigious Barloworld CEO Award that honours employees who have gone beyond the call of duty.

Her involvement with the Disabled People of South Africa afforded her the opportunity to study in Denmark and broaden her understanding on global disability issues. Through her contribution in the disability space she was also awarded a Tributes Award, alongside Deputy Minister Hendrieta Bogopane and Masingita Masunga. This is an award in honour of women with disabilities that are actively involved in the development of initiatives and systems designed to uplift the general public.

In 2012 she became a client relationship manager at Tshikululu Social Investments. Tshikululu Social Investments is South Africa’s leading corporate social investment (CSI) manager that provides private sector entities with a one-stop service to undertake comprehensive social investment and community grantmaking in line with national and international development trends.

“I was born in Pretoria and spent my entire childhood and teenage hood in a small township outside of Bronkhorstspruit called Ekangala. It’s on the border of Gauteng and Mpumalanga province, former KwaNdebele homelands, but now officially under Gauteng province. I moved Johannesburg in November 2003,” says Thuli.

Throughout her career life Thuli has been involved in advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities and championing their cause at company, national and international level. She believes in finding and unleashing talent and potential even where there is no hope. She had the opportunity to grow her knowledge through work she completed with some of the most respected organisations in the disability sector, including Disabled People of South Africa (DPSA), Disabled Youth of South Africa (DYSA), National Youth Commission (NYC), Danish Organisation for Disabled (DIS), Organisation for Women with Spinal Chord Injuries, Association for the Physically Disabled (APD, Johannesburg) National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities (NCPPDSA), Presidential Working Group on Women and South African Employers for Disability.

Thuli draws her strength and encouragement from her mother and inspiration from her daughter and her four siblings.

About the Author

Andrea Vinassa

Andrea Vinassa

For more information, photographs and publicity material call Andrea Vinassa / Media co-ordinator for Casual Day Cell: 079 089 9835 Landline Cape Town: 021 790 6698 \ Landline Edenvale: 011 609 7006 Email address:

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