Hlongwa, a force to be reckoned with

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moratoaBy Mathabana Kotelo, Maseru

New Dawn Chartered Accountants received a Silver Arrow Award from PMR Africa at Lesotho Sun yesterday. The award is in recognition of the company’s auditing repute and for its role in stimulating economic growth and development in the country. Lesotho Times’ Business Reporter Mathabana Kotelo spoke to one of the accounting firm’s partners Moratuoa Hlongwa.

Moratuoa Hlongwa is a chartered accountant by profession, a certified image consultant by passion, an ultra marathon runner and a mountain climber, all in one. Speaking to Hlongwa this week, the many layers to the larger-than-life character began to unfold. Growing up in Sea point Maseru, Hlongwa never envisaged a career in accounting despite having shown an aptitude for mathematics and numbers early in her schooling years.

It was a skill she took for granted because her heart was elsewhere. “A career in accounting sort of crept up on me because my interests lay mainly in
fashion, acting and modeling. One could even say I came into accounting with a sleeping mind.” At her family’s insistence she reluctantly
enrolled at the Centre for Accounting Studies where she later qualified as a chartered accountant in 2003. Hlongwa started her career at then
KPMG now Moores-Rowland Lesotho where she also served her articles before moving on to join Nedbank Lesotho as an assistant internal auditor and later took up the position of head of internal audit.

In 2010 she caught the entrepreneurial bug and set out to establish her own accounting firm Lebesa Chartered Accountants that would later merge with New
Dawn Accountants. At 33 years of age, Hlongwa is one of four partners at New Dawn Chartered accountants, an audit and management consultancy
firm based in Maseru that has been operational for over a year.

“We assist small to medium organisations to grow by providing financial services solutions like tax planning, review and audit services, among others”.
The firm which boasts an accreditation by the Lesotho Institute of Accountants and the likes of Price Waterhouse Coopers, Grant Thornton and Ernst and Young, among other associates, seems well on its way to achieving its mission of becoming one the leading audit firms in Lesotho and Africa at large.
When she is not manning the fort at New Dawn, Hlongwa works as an image consultant and is a founder of Image Evolution Lesotho,
a task she takes on with much zeal and believes should be a revolution in Lesotho.

In this capacity Hlongwa’s tasks include consultations by appointment on personal branding, wardrobe planning, makeovers,and etiquette to mention a few.
“I believe image is everything. Through Image Evolution Lesotho, we hold regular seminars on a range of image-related topics ranging from voice projection, posture, makeovers, among others”, she says.

She is a certified image consultant and a member of the Association of Professional Image Consulting South Africa which sees to the maintenance of high standards, integrity and professional ethics. She is also a contributing author on a soon to be launched book titled Image Matters.
Speaking passionately about Image Evolution she says “Image Evolution advocates personal and corporate branding, self-awareness and developing a respected nation through instilling strong etiquette standards.”

Over and above her day job, Hlongwa is a wife and a hands-on mother of three. She sits on the executive committees of runners’ club Lesotho and Rainbow Toastmasters which she attributes her competent communication and leadership skills to. Add to that plate her membership in a local initiative Barali Business
Association and one just has to wonder how she does it all.

On how she juggles her many responsibilities, Hlongwa says, “All these roles make me who I am; accounting represents the solid, more technical side to me. Working as an image consultant has shaped my interactions with people both professionally and socially.
I have learned how to deal with people,time management, and empathy which have helped me build and guide strong teams.”

By her own admission, Hlongwa is a fitness and sports fanatic who has conquered Thabana Ntlenyana and has set her sights on the Kilimanjaro next. She attends yoga classes and has two Soweto and three Comrades marathons awards under her belt.“Running not only calms me but it has also
taught me discipline and has spurred me on to overcome challenges of all sorts. I always say if I have conquered the Comrades then I
can rise above any adversity”, she says.

For Hlongwa parenting is a role she holds very dearly and she encourages parents to be involved in their kids’ lives and cheer
them on to take part in volunteering, sports and other activities where they can acquire social skills, leadership and discipline to help shape
their lives. She says her inspiration stems from the desire to see her deep-rooted passion for Africa which she calls her African
dream come to life and makes strides every day towards reaching that dream.

“I strive to be a change agent; I believe change is a collaborated effort. I want to put Sea-point, Maseru and Lesotho on the map and I believe it begins with me”.

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