( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Using Beginnings and Experiences In South Africa, Sihle Bolani Started the Narrative Challenging BIPOC’s Experience
ENSPIRE Contributor: Elizabeth Casillas
“I did not come into this world to leave it like I found it.” These are strong words spoken by Sihle Bolani, writer, content creator, and public speaker. Born in Durban, South Africa, she now lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she works to fight against the discrimination of Black professionals in the workforce and raise awareness regarding racial inequality and mental health.
Bolani’s childhood as a young, Black girl impacted her outlook on life. She spent a lot of time healing from the trauma she experienced due to distrust and anxiety within the world around her. Adding to this, she had to let go of the belief that everyone had good intentions and face the reality of the world. Sihle Bolani first got involved in the media industry when she wrote her book, “We Are The Ones We Need: The War on Black Professionals in Corporate South Africa.” Her book dealt with the racism, inequality, and discrimination she had experienced. The memories fueled her to write this book and use her platform to educate others on lowering the number of people affected by workplace racism.
Because of the subject Bolani’s book touches upon, she hopes her readers feel valid and understood. Specifically, she wants BIPOC’s feelings, such as rage and hurt, to be understood. These feelings are valid, and by using them, we can work together and change the world around us. The book is not just specific to BIPOC. Bolani mentions how any race has a lot to learn from it too. The book covers how to relate to BIPOC people in the workplace and reflect on it to use existing privilege and leverage to improve the situation for BIPOC professionals.
Similarly, her podcast “The Workplace Revolution” also works to elevate listeners to be a better version of themselves. Her favorite podcast episodes have been those dealing with reflecting on goals, triggers, traumas, and how people can use that to discover what makes their life and work fulfilling.
Bolani wants her followers to trust themselves and know they deserve a healthy, enabling, and supportive work environment. Including being loyal to themselves and finding mentors to guide them through their career. Most importantly, Bolani believes in not being “afraid to walk away from opportunities that would require you to betray yourself. There will be others.” Mental health matters more than any job opportunity.