Gateway Health Institute and its board of directors is proud to announce that me.
Hazel Tshabalala has recently been appointed as their very first female chairperson.
Tshabalala was appointed unanimously by all involved and will take over the position from dr. Coen Louw, GHI’s medical director, from end of November 2015.
According to Louw, the appointment of Tshabalala was a natural next step for Gateway Health Institute, as she brings years of expertise in business management and social involvement to the table.
“And the fact that Tshabalala has already proven herself a worthy asset to Gateway Health Institute, it just made sense that she should take the lead.”
Tshabalala started her business career in 1972, becoming the first black female entrepreneur to design and manufacture Marquis tents for the local market. She prides herself in having explored untapped markets during an era where there were very little opportunities for black women in South Africa.
Under difficult circumstances Hazel managed to become a social entrepreneur by providing starter kits to retired/retrenched black people to enable them to start their own tent hiring businesses.
Back in 1972, she also saw the value of recycling, becoming the first "bottle bag" for SA breweries to facilitate large scale rotation of returnable glass bottles to the brewery. For this purpose she acquired 10 large trucks to assist the brewery in collecting its bottles from all over South Africa.
“I am extremely excited to be taking over as the new chairwoman for the Gateway Health Institute’s board of directors. I take this position very seriously and I do hope to use this platform to institute change on different levels in the health sector, not only locally, but globally,” she beamed.
Tshabalala has a long history of tapping into unexplored opportunities, in 1980 she built and operated a 1000 square meter "one stop service" funeral parlour, in 1981 she started the first tourist restaurant in Soweto SBDC, in 1988 she opened the first wholesale business in what is now Gauteng to cater for black retail businesses - to bring wholesale closer to Soweto.
Since 1980, Hazel involved herself in helping children with learning disabilities and managed to enroll black pupils in the Glen Oaks Remedial School - during a time when schools in "white" areas were not allowed to accept black pupils. Hazel ended up as board member of the school and focused on creating awareness of the challenges faced by black children, especially those with learning disabilities. Her efforts gave birth to many successful adults both in the academic and business environments.
As a newly wed she made her home a beacon of hope for disadvantaged children and invested time and money to provide them with a holistic childhood development. Her business enterprises and partners raised funds for orphanages around Soweto and Southern Johannesburg during a time when social grants were unavailable to these children.
Hazel has a passion for children and hopes to continue to focus on child development - cognitive, social, physical and emotional - and to contribute to filling the gaps and to help these children develop into efficient and effective adults.