Entrepreneur with a conscience to be honoured by the royals


This will be by becoming one of the few from the continent to be given the prestigious title of Honorary Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order by a grateful Royal Family.

Wendy Luhabe, a veteran entrepreneur who wrote her name in South African business history by standing up for women, will receive the award from a member of the royal family.

(READ MORE: Wendy Luhabe to be honoured by British Royal Family)


The other recipients of the award, instituted in 1896, read like a who’s who of ambassadors and admirals. The award is given by the Queen to those who have served the monarchy in a personal way. It includes officials of the Royal Household and ambassadors who have arranged state visits.

Luhabe has been recognised for the 10 years she has given to working for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards – a leading youth charity that helps people aged between 14 and 24 the chance to fulfil their potential by learning skills for life.

The award has helped young people shine everywhere from the favelas of Brazil to the prisons of South Africa. In this work, Luhabe worked alongside Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex.

“Nothing in my life is done for the recognition. For me, I have already received my recognition, and that is the impact I make on the lives of people. The award is only just a conformation of that. And it is a great honour,” says Luhabe.

When asked how she is preparing for the big day, she said: “I am not really thinking about it. I have far too much on my mind. I am not preoccupied by it. I think of what I am doing today, and devote my entire attention to the moment. I don’t think of the past or the future.”

Luhabe made her name in business with the women’s’ investment company WIPHOLD. She launched it in 1994, with three other women, at a time when black economic empowerment was trying to bring the majority of South Africans into the mainstream.

Luhabe and her colleagues felt women should be at the forefront too and, true to their word, they helped thousands of women make their first ever investments.