Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

Selling fish and sweets as a schoolgirl inspired Lindani Dhlamini to leave the comfort of a well-paying job as a chartered accountant and to start her own accounting firm.

Last night, Dhlamini's company, Xabiso Chartered Accountants, celebrated its fifth birthday at a gala event at Saxon Boutique Hotel, Sandhurst in Johannesburg.

Xabiso's (Nguni for value) clients include the SABC, the Department of Labour and South African Airways.

Born at Umlazi in Durban, Dhlamini, 35, was raised by parents who were both teachers. When they stopped working, she was compelled to sell fish and sweets to supplement the family income.

Today she lives in Sandton with her husband of eight years and two children, aged six and two.

"My mother instilled in me a culture of entrepreneurship through the little I was selling," she said

After matriculanting in 1990, Dhlamini received a scholarship from IBM to study for a BSc degree at the University of Cape Town. She also completed a BCom degree from the same institution.

She qualified as a chartered accountant in 1999 while working for Deloitte and Touche. But working for one of the world's biggest accounting firms was not good enough for Dhlamini.

She and her colleague Ndumi Medupe approached Umsobomvu Youth Fund and received R1,7 million to found Xabiso Chartered Accountants.

The partnesrs approached the SABC and won a lucrative deal.

Today, Xabiso employs 58 staff members, has five directors - all CAs, and boasts a R17,6 million annual turnover.