Pearl Ntshehi is a brilliant example that you are not defined by your roots. Although she comes from an infamous township, this candidate attorney is climbing the ladder to success while giving back to her community at the same time. Because charity starts at home.
Mamelodi, where Pearl Ntshehi grew up, is a fairly notorious and dangerous township. And it is quite common that school leavers faced a bleak future. But from a very young age, Pearl decided that she would not conform to that norm. She stepped up and worked hard to show her community that there’s more to life and that anything is possible. That everyone is allowed to dream big and to make those dreams come true, regardless of their circumstances.
A self-confessed nerd and bookworm who, believe it or not, loves to study, Pearl has BCom Law, LLB and BCom honours under her belt. And there’s no stopping her yet … she is planning to do her Masters and PhD next.
“I just don’t know what it is with me and studying … we have a love-hate relationship. I have other things I want to do that need my time and attention, but I always find myself registering for a course. Haha. Jokes aside, I believe that knowledge is power and the greatest weapon created beside the tongue is information.”
Apart from studying Pearl also has a nine to five at a law institute and is the founder of a non-profit organisation.
“I have always tried to serve my community by finding solutions to the challenges it faces. Three years ago, I started Project 31, where we give back to our community in Mamelodi. It is based on the principle of ‘letsogo le lengwe le hlatswa le lengwe’ meaning for the community to succeed we need to assist each other where we can. Our projects include a clothing drive every Winter, donating to our local SOS Children’s Village, as well as Second Chance Recovery Centre, which is a halfway house for recovering drug addicts. From sanitary ware, toiletries, and shoes to stationery, we aim to help wherever the need arises.”
A huge part of Project 31’s mission is also to empower, educate and make a difference in the lives of the youth. Pearl and a team of volunteers and mentees work with boys and girls from grade six to young adults. Their main goal? To teach, build and help the teens with challenges they face.
“We do talks at schools, covering a range of topics like bullying, gender-based violence, suicide prevention, mental health awareness, people skills and human rights. No child or school are the same or faces the same difficulties. Once we’ve identified specific needs, we assist with the right programmes to help. A motivational talk at the right time is great, but most of the time the child has forgotten what you said by their second period. And that’s why we prefer to walk a road with the children, to share our experiences and knowledge and to help them not to repeat the same mistakes.
“I really want to see the youth from our township thrive in uncharted waters. I want them to know that they can make a success of their future. To dream is great, but you have to work hard.”
As if all this is not keeping Pearl busy enough, she is also the founder of Crowned Africa, where she offers mentorship and pageant coaching for anyone who wants to enter this cutthroat industry. It is not just about the glitz and the glam, she tells us. Oh, and by the way, Pearl is currently a Miss SA top 10 finalist. A brilliant combo of beauty and brains!
Plus, she strikes up convos on her YouTube channel – from mental illness, and personal identity to challenging the imposter syndrome or teaching listeners entrepreneurial skills, financial management and early career building.
It once again shows not all heroes wear capes. In Pearl’s case, it would be a gorgeous dress and killer heels.
Five podcasts she loves to listen to for inspo:
- After School Is After School with sis G.U – Gugulethu Nyatsumba
- Becoming the InfluentialMe – Michelle Chikanda
- Sisters in conversation – Tebello Motshwane
- Freedom and Identity – Ember Penumbra
- Cultivating HER Space – Dr. Dom and Terri Lomax
Seven books everyone should read
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason – You’ll learn how to keep more out of what you earn, get out of debt, put your money to work, attract good luck and choose wise investments. This is a classic, but it will change your relationship with money.
- Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success by Chika Onyeani – This is a great, controversial book from a writer that will challenge you, push you to think deeper and conceptualise what success is.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama – I relate to most of the things she went through, her background, her in the field of law … the list is endless. Whenever I’m in a tight life situation I often ask myself, ‘What would Michelle Obama do’. It’s my source of inspiration and a constant read, you will finish it and go back for more.
- The 5AM Club by Robin Sharma – This book teaches you so much more than simply about waking up early. Yes, it helped to structure my morning routine, but also guided me to make time for self-development and how to enjoy every moment. The book is filled with wisdom, a positive mindset, focus and success techniques.
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – The title alone should already make you smile. This book is all about finding what is truly important in life and how to live happier lives by not worrying about what people think of us. A humorous book, but with a good dose of reality.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – Really an inspirational and motivational story that teaches you about listening to your heart, and to the omens that happen along your life’s path. One of my favourite lines from the book is: “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible.”
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear – Another inspiring book and self-help book that’s easy to read and understand. It explains how minor and practical changes to your everyday routine can bring positive changes in the long run. Definitely, a read if you want to be more productive and need to break bad habits.