Akhona Qengqe

Akhona Qengqe, GM for Africa at popular chicken restaurant chain KFC

Akhona Qengqe, GM for Africa at popular chicken restaurant chain KFC

15th September 2023

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Full Name: Akhona Qengqe

Position and Company Name: GM of KFC Africa

Main Activity of the Company: KFC is the world’s most popular chicken restaurant chain, with a presence in South Africa for over 50 years and with more than 1 200 restaurants across sub-Saharan Africa

Date and Place of Birth: April 18, 1983, Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape

Schools and Tertiary Education: Matric, Queenstown Girls’ High School; BCom (Economics, Politics and Philosophy), University of Cape Town; Marketing Certificate, University of South Africa; Critical Diversity Literacy Programme, University of the Witwatersrand

First Job: Business analyst in the retail strategy department at Shell Petroleum

Size of First Pay Packet: R173 000 a year

Career Path to Date: I started at KFC in 2015 as development director, becoming transformation, diversity and inclusion head in 2017, and chief people and transformation officer in 2020. I have also held various senior positions, including board chair of the Franchise Association of South Africa, head of convenience retail at Shell South Africa and director of Africa franchise development at Yum! Restaurants International

Value of Assets Under Your Control: Not stated

Number of People under Your Leadership: 40 000 team members across Africa

Management Style: I believe in shared visions, shared goals and high levels of empowerment to give people the space to find their best way to an outcome

Personal Best Achievement: I’ve always wanted a big family and a big career, and I believe I have both

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Life: My father – he grew up in the village of Qunu and although he started school quite late, he managed to skip several grades and eventually landed a scholarship to study at the then prestigious St John’s College. He raised me to believe in myself and my abilities and that not even the sky is the limit

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Career: My first GM at Shell, Wayne Kingwill

Person You Would Most Like to Meet: If he was still alive, I would have loved to share a cup of coffee with Tata Nelson Mandela

Businessperson Who Has Impressed You Most: Wendy Luhabe, who, at the advent of democracy in our country, recognised the meaningful role that women could play in building South Africa

Philosophy of Life: ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’. I came across this quote while at university and have used it as my personal mantra and philosophy in navigating my life journey

Biggest Ever Opportunity: My role as director of transformation at KFC

Biggest Ever Disappointment: Every time I see highly experienced professionals leave our country for opportunities elsewhere

Hope for the Future: My hope, especially as a mother of three girls, is that our girl children will grow up to consider themselves to be economically viable individuals who have much to contribute towards shaping and building industries, and that they will not only take their seats at the table, but also make more seats available for other women

Favourite Reading: I read all sorts of books. Before I was even 10, I had read the likes of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. My favourite of all time is The Alchemist.

Favourite TV Programme: When I do have a moment, I love watching Shea McGee’s Dream House Makeover

Favourite Food/Drink: Everywhere I go, there’s always a bottle of sparkling water, and I can never have enough chicken

Favourite Music: I’m the type of person who finds a song and then obsesses over it for a week, and it’s across all genres

Favourite Sport: Cricket

Hobbies: I love all things interior décor and I also own several sewing machines – sewing helps me to be present in the moment and to completely forget about everything going on around me

Car: As a mother, size and reliability are important, so I tend to go for SUVs

Pets: My children are getting to an age where they are starting to ask for pets and, when my husband is ready, it will probably be a dog

Miscellaneous Dislikes: Lack of personal accountability and entitlement

Married: To Ishe

Children: Leano, 12; Kwezi, 9; Zoe, 8; Azania, 4

Clubs: None

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor



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