Humility and spirituality helped librarian’s rise to academic director

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During Women’s Month, we celebrate PROFESSOR KIVESHNIE NAIDOO who worked her way up the academic ladder at MANCOSA higher education institution and balances her feminine leadership values with a drive to succeed.

Success knows no bounds for Professor Kiveshnie Naidoo, who worked her way up the
academic ladder from librarian to Academic Director at private higher education institution

Naidoo, 50, who hails from Tongaat, north of Durban, comes from a family of esteemed and
successful educators.

“I am married to an educator and my mother, aunt and uncle were all educators. Impacting the lives of people through education is the true reward of this profession,” she said.

An avid devotee of Sri Satya Sai Baba, the Indian guru and philanthropist, she lives her life
by the guiding principle of humility and the mantra “help ever, hurt never.”

The mother of two believes emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence in the workplace go hand-in-hand to ensure a healthy and motivated workforce.

She balances the feminine leadership values such as empathy, collaborative interaction, and
mentoring with high success drivers such as innovation, creativity, and perseverance. She
constantly pushes the boundaries with her team, for individuals to strive to greater heights
from an education platform, a facilitation platform as well as in the research space.

Naidoo fulfilled various roles and functions during her more than 16-year career at MANCOSA. She progressed from librarian to media advertising placement and travel co-ordinator before heading the launch of e-varsity which offered MBA courses with a partner
institution in the United Kingdom. All of these opportunities were made possible by the
founder of the institution Professor Yusuf Karodia.

She then became involved in Executive Education which dealt with green initiatives and the labour market and thereafter joined the academic department. She earned her stripes as
Academic Director at MANCOSA, a portfolio she served for four years and is also the Chair of the Academic Exco and Senate, the highest academic council at MANCOSA.

Coming from an IT, travel and tourism and management background, a MANCOSA MBA
offered a different perspective on life – human relations, stress management and leadership development. Her Ph.D. looked at the work performance of educators with studies based on different levels of stress.

On helping women to progress, she said she was cognisant of the challenges faced by women in the boardroom and the subtle forms of discrimination that existed. Hence, the
programmes in which she is involved are purposefully designed to ensure mentorship, support, and opportunities for women to study further and flourish.

“I empathise with the challenges career women face daily. From not being taken seriously to being second-guessed and undermined, even envied for your achievements, can be rather daunting.”

Having faced some of these challenges personally, Naidoo also recognises the support systems and people around her that took the time to mentor and propel her into the academic space.

“Personally, strength of character, determination, and resilience helped me to overcome difficult situations.

“Developing mechanisms to cope with stress, understanding workforce complexities, and being empathetic help to put things into perspective.”

A self-confessed bookworm, Naidoo enjoys reading autobiographies of people and getting lost in thought-provoking stories.

So much so that she has read all the books published by Robin Sharma, a renowned
Canadian author and motivational speaker, which she presents in discourses and lectures.

“When I retire, I intend to tour the world, interact with people from various diasporas and serve communities which stems from the call for spirituality in my life. I would also like to continue with the leadership programme with learners so that they can cope with the challenges and make meaningful contributions to society.

“A world where everyone lives in peace and harmony, appreciated for who they are, regardless of caste, creed and religion, and where love conquers all, is a world I aspire to.”

Her mantra is to do whatever she can daily to promote mutual inclusivity and mutual respect amongst people.

Her recipe for success in life is to be humble and grounded and success will follow.

“Believe in yourself, understand the purpose you have to fulfil and commit to achieving the goals you have set for yourself.”


For queries or additional information call 031 300 7200, email [email protected] or visit

Issued by:
Yogin Devan
Meropa Communications
(031) 201 0550 / 083 326 3962

On behalf of:
Honoris United Universities

About Honoris United Universities

Honoris United Universities is the first and largest pan-African private higher education network committed to educating the next generation of African leaders and professionals able to impact regionally in a globalized world. Collaborative intelligence, cultural agility and mobile mind-sets and skills are at the heart of Honoris’ vision of higher education. Honoris United Universities joins the expertise of its member institutions to develop world-class African Human capital that is competitive in today’s fast paced, demanding and increasingly digitized labor and start-up markets.

Honoris United Universities gathers a community of 45,000 students on 60 campuses, learning centres and via on-line, in 10 countries and 32 cities. The network counts 11 institutions: multidisciplinary universities, specialized schools, technical and vocational institutes, contact, distance and online institutions. Students have an opportunity to experience exclusive partnerships and exchange programs in more than 60 universities across Europe and the United States. Over 280 degrees are offered in Health Sciences, Engineering, IT, Business, Law, Architecture, Creative Arts and Design, Media, Political Science and Education.

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