Eleni Ratheb

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Eleni Ratheb
Media and Communication
What is your educational or experience background that equips you to add value to this SCA team?

I studied Business Science at UCT and majored in Economics and Marketing. After working as a researcher at UCT’s GSB and lecturing marketing at UCT, I joined the Foschini Retail Group, during which time I went on to complete my Masters in Marketing, Consumer Behaviour. After 11 years at TFG, having gained extensive experience across merchandise planning, buying, marketing, information systems, operations and legal, I left their Executive team to pursue my own business and to focus on raising a loving and strong family.  

I believe that my love for people, together with my entrepreneurial and business experience, positions me well to servant lead. I wish to play a role in bringing our people together behind a common vision and goal, to see us each using our personal power for personal and collective progress. 

Why are you a Social Cohesion Advocate?

I felt a calling to use my talents to help inspire and motivate South Africans to awaken their personal power to move themselves, others and our country forwards and upwards. We can only make South Africa better if we commit to all work together and keep our eyes on the goal ahead, making every sacrifice required to get there. 

What change are you passionate about seeing come about?

 I am passionate about South Africans being able to see a vision for the future collectively. I wish for us to recognise the unique strengths that each person living in South Africa brings to our nation. We are a diverse people and can harness each of our unique talents to create thriving and prosperous communities and thereby, maximise the potential of our country.

What makes you feel uniquely South African?

Being part of a rainbow nation that has peacefully overcome all odds, gives me a sense of pride and togetherness, that is uniquely South African. 

What is your dream for South Africa by 2030?

We need to focus on the good in us and be bonded by common values and ethics. We need to work hard together to create a better tomorrow for each of us. #StrongerTogether

If we all make the sacrifices required now, join our hands, and work hard to make South Africa our “promised” land, we will be able to stop relying on government funding as much in future. We need to start believing in ourselves and finding creative ways to uplift and grow our communities and people. We need to open our minds to the possibilities of greatness as a people and nation, and solutions will become clearer to us as we move forwards and upwards.   

What do you believe South Africans need to do to make this dream a reality?

We need to focus on harnessing the unique strengths of all people in SA.

In 2019, against all odds, we won the Rugby World Cup. We achieved this because we had a diverse team that worked really hard together under good leadership. They brought their unique strengths together and kept focused on the goal at hand. They made magic together, showing us that its possible for us to do the impossible! If we work as a team, maximizing all the unique talents of our diverse people, we can turn our economy around and start prospering. 

Who are we as South Africans?

We are a diverse people, each trying to make a living and a good life for ourselves. We are either born here or have immigrated to here to work hard in search of a better life. 

Where do we come from (as a nation)?

Our history is marked with oppression and injustice towards people of colour, and incredible forgiveness and strength of character was shown by people of colour to open the way for us to start forging a better nation post 1994. This has been the pride of South Africa, admired by people all the world over. 

Where are we heading?

While freedom for all was attained before the law in 1994, much work still needs to be done to enable our people to be able to attain the better quality of life they seek. There is a steel thread tying people across races together in South Africa, and when one looks deeply into our hearts we are all brothers and sisters. We need to do our best to lay down any shame, guilt or fear of one another, and start focusing on the joy of the possibilities we can create together. If we can each harness our personal power of one, we can move ourselves, others and South Africa forwards and upwards. 

How do we wish to conduct ourselves in SA?

All people who live in South Africa, regardless of colour or creed, should feel safe and a sense of belonging. We should all encourage one another to join our hands and give of our best, so that we can build the South Africa we all want to live in by 2030.

How do we wish to conduct ourselves (and to be viewed) internationally?

We need to work hard to re-attain the admiration of the world, they need to see our ubuntu and goodness in action. We wish for the international community to be drawn to us again so that we can lure both tourists and investors, and thereby grow our social and economic capital.  

How do we hold each other’s hands as we build and form a cohesive nation?

Each person who chooses to live in this beautiful land at the tip of Africa, needs to care for this land and the people who live in it. There are many people in South Africa with ambition, drive and self-belief. These people know that they have within them the power to create a better life and are called Future-Makers. They are often stuck in a poverty-trap and require someone to lend them a hand with some training in their field of interest and usually an initial small loan or some equipment for their trade. All those living well, need to be encouraged to become Future-Igniters and reach out to help a Future-Maker needing guidance to stand on their own feet financially. A Future-Igniter will be a caring advisor to a Future-Maker, much like a family member would stand in to assist the child of a deceased sibling. There is also a lot to be learnt by the Future-Igniter from the Future-Maker. The lessons of resilience and ubuntu-in-action should enable greater levels of respect and understanding.

Imagine what would happen if 1 Million Future-Igniters joined forces with 1 Million Future-Makers? Imagine 1 Million people earning R500-5000 a month from a newly equipped trade. What would this do for our economy as this new injection of skills and money starts circulating in our land? It will be the kick-start that SA needs post covid!


Imagine the power of positive change when each of us simultaneously activate the power we have to move ourselves, others and thereby the country forwards and upwards.

Imagine where we can reach as a nation if we all start saying “Bayethe Mzansi” and mean it. If we all commit to acting ethically and responsibly at all times, even when it doesn’t suit us. If we all put our country’s overall well-being before our person well-being. If we all make the necessary sacrifices now to create a growing economy that will create more jobs and opportunities for all by 2030. I like imagining this future.