Claire Roadley interviewed her on behalf of Brand South Africa to find out more about herself and her role at South Africa House...
Hi Sisanda. Thanks for agreeing to chat with us today. Please tell us a bit about your early years for a start?
I was born and raised in Cape Town, kwaLanga, one of South Africa's oldest townships established in 1927 in terms of the 1923 Urban Areas Act. I still hold many fond memories of growing up in Langa. I remember and miss the routine of having to go to church without fail every Sunday with my family, collecting coins from elders so I can run to the corner shop and buy chocolates, from playing outside the house with my two best friends till dark and getting a scolding after that, and just the general cheerful environment. I am born out of a close-knit family, which includes my wonderful and supportive parents who have been married for over 36 years, my siblings, consisting of my two lovely sisters and an amazing younger brother.
Before my career move to Johannesburg, I did most of my schooling, from Junior to Tertiary level in Cape Town, namely Observatory Junior School, Rhodes High School and the University of Stellenbosch.
When did you - and what inspired you to move to the UK?
I moved to the UK in mid-2014. Moving to the UK has and will always be one of my best moments. Coming from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, I was transferred to serve in London as a representative of the country. Growing up in my school years, I had always wanted to be a servant to the people of South Africa in which ever capacity, and so I feel most honoured to be doing so in the UK.
Can you tell us a bit about your job at South Africa House and what your role entails?
The High Commissions mandate is to maintain the political and economic relations between South Africa and the UK, and to promote and facilitate co-operation on various sectors. As South Africa's country representative, my work is to share South Africa's national interests in the UK, and to help promote South Africa and to identify opportunities available for South Africa/South Africans within the portfolios of Arts & Culture, Sports and Health.
What do you love the most about your job?
There is nothing more fulfilling for me then to be able to provide UK prospects back to South Africa. I get the utmost thrill of having to promote South Africa in the UK through a number of events, and of course, connecting and networking with a wide range of people.
What are your passions or hobbies?
My interests in the main include travelling, going biking, reading, fitness and I now have a new interest in photography which I'd love to pursue further. I also have a deep passion for disadvantaged children, fashion, arts and organizing.
What is your favourite part of SA?
My birth place Cape Town, has to be one of my favourite places in South Africa, maybe even in the world. But I must admit, I am still trying to explore the whole of South Africa. I made a commitment early last year after a wonderful trip to South Africa, that I would travel and help myself to discover many parts of South Africa I haven't seen as yet. Johannesburg has to be my second favourite place. I also hold the Eastern Cape very close to my heart.
What is the one element about being South African that has shaped who you are today?
The essential human virtues of compassion, humanity and tolerance have shaped me to be the person that I am. These are values that have also been instilled to me by my parents. One thing I know for sure is that my South AfricanISM will always be a part of who I am, and I am proud of that!
Thanks Sisanda for all your hard work representing our beautiful Rainbow Nation.