Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cultural Clash, xenophobic utterances kicks me out of Checkers Balfour Park in Johannesburg as ‘Store Manager’ Watches

31st March 2016
Johannesburg 2090

It is very easy to have a bad day; especially in things that we have little or no control over. It is also very easy for children to be taught the wrong things in life. My heart-breaking experience narrates thus. The day before Easter Sunday 2016, I took my children to Clicks for annual medical check-up. Unfortunately, the nursing sister had booked the long weekend off despite the fact that we had an appointment. As we walked out of Clicks, I suggested that we get Easter eggs for a fun hunt since we will be hosting more visitors later on that day.
Yeah, we all headed to Checkers, happy but mostly excited. At the Easter Eggs stand, my children got even more excited when I said ‘choose yours’. Realising that there were no prices on the eggs that they had chosen, we called out. Unfortunately, the immediate employee could not help us. Almost God sent, a female employee walked towards us holding a scanner. The children all turned to her for help, which she gracefully did. Before she could divulge the price, my younger daughter dropped another egg into the trolley. At this point I said to her ‘wait, don’t pick anymore. Let auntie scan so we can know the prices’ oh my! What came out of this female employee’s mouth immediately poisoned the mood we had and left me really hurt.
‘I am not your auntie’ she said, addressing my children without looking at me. Pointing her scanner at them, she added. ‘I am not your mother’s sister and I will never be. I am not your auntie and I will never be’ trying to hide my feeling and the shock, I laughed it off. Then she said it again. At this point, I asked her who she is. She repeated the above. I said to her ‘not that you are my sister, but you are an aunt to my children.’ Again she said; this time to me; ‘I am not your sister and I will never be your sister.’
Trying to hold high after four such blows and a scene of onlookers (mostly her colleagues), I then said to my children; ‘Let that woman scan so we can know the prices.’ I asked her if addressing her as a woman was OK, and she repeated ‘I’m not your sister and I will never be your sister.’ After picking what we wanted, I said to myself that I better find out from this woman what I should address her. I walked to her and said ‘sorry, you don’t want me to call you auntie to my children, what would you want me to call you?’ she said ‘I am not your sister and I will never be. I am not your children’s auntie and I will never be.’
I looked at her this time more determined because my traumatised children had been taken away by a fellow employee (whom I thank for that). I said to her, ‘yes, I acknowledge that you are not my sister and you are not my children’s auntie. Right now, what I need from you is how to address you. What should I refer to you as in front of my children?’ she asked me with a very high voice ‘what is auntie, who is an auntie?’ I said, can we forget about the word auntie and you just tell me what to address you?’ she asked me ‘what is the word auntie and who is an auntie’ then I said to her, ‘an auntie is a female sibling to a parent. But in the African context, it is respect for older people whose names you don’t want to call’ to which she added. ‘In Africa? I am not from Africa. I am not from your Africa there, I am from Africa down here’. Pointing her scanner to the floor. The first thing that clicked my mind at these words was the reason she I treating me like this. Is it because she established that I am a foreigner in her country shopping in their shop? Seeing that the argument I taking a xenophobic turn I said that I will not be drawn into this. I continued to keep my line I said; ‘ma’am, after telling my children that you are not their auntie, don’t you think that you should have told them who you are just to teach them?’ her response; ‘no. it is not my job’. To which I added, ‘it is your responsibility to tell children who you want them to call you because they have to learn. Tell me’ she said; ‘I will not teach your children. I will not tell them.’ I repeated my question and she repeated her answer.
At this point I became impatient, but mostly embarrassed because we had onlookers. I said to her, ‘you are not my sister and I am not desperate for a sister. All I need from you is to tell me what I should call you. I am a teacher of children and I will need to know’ to this, she responded. ‘You are a teacher who does not know what an auntie is? Go, I will not tell you.’ Then I said, ‘raising your voice and shouting will not help us, just tell me what to address you.’ She said ‘you are a teacher, you should know.’ And I added. ‘Right now ma’am I am a teacher who wants to learn. Teach me so that can teach my children.’ we carried on and on. I told her not to shout at me 3 times.
I said to her ‘better still, you go tell my children because you owe it to teach them’. She said she will not. That I should teach my children myself. I got really angry but still keeping the powers in her hands.
Finally, I turned to the colleague who kept telling her not to talk and I said, ‘can I speak to the store manager?’ to my surprise, she said ‘this is the store manager.’ I am not sure for how long, but the said store manager was among the onlookers. I turned to her and narrated what happened. She asked her colleague to apologise and the colleague refused. The Manager turned and told me that she has refused. I told the store manager that I do not need an apology anyway because an apology will not take out the trauma that this has caused me and my children. I said that ‘an explanation will make us leave this store knowing that we have learnt something.’ Gracefully, the STORE MANAGER said to me ‘but she has refused to apologise’ then I said fine. I said that I will leave this store, and I will take this matter to the media. They all turned and said something in their vernacular to this female employee and then she said to me ‘I am Sheron. My name is Sheron. Call me Sheron.’
At this point, I told all the employee, but particularly Cindy the store Manager that I will walk out of their store comfortably if Sheron does 3 things for me;
1.      Address my children on who she is and how I should have referred to her,
2.      Why she shouted/burst out the way she did,
3.      Tell me why she classifies herself as not an African like me from up there.
Sheron still refused to do anything, until the women spoke to her in very strong voices (in the vernacular). At this point, the said store manager was holding me. I asked her to let go of me because I am no criminal. In what seemed to have been a consensus from Sheron to talk, we were pulled towards my children as the other woman who had diligently babysat them walked them towards us.
My physically traumatised children stood there listening to this woman as she told them that ‘I am not your auntie and I will never be. I am not your mother’s sister and I will never be. I know what your mother meant. She takes me for the woman working in your house. I am Sheron!.’ Shocked I burst into tears. But before I did, my daughter said to her that ‘you are auntie Sheron because you are big.’ In shock, I told her not to teach my children the wrong things because they know who an auntie is. I told her to tell them who she should be referred to full stop. ‘Sheron!’ she said without looking at me. At this point, I decided to take down her full names as Sheron Makola, and the store manager as Cindy Nyathi. I gave Cindy my business card and left in an attempt to bury my tears.
As we walked away, the store manager asked me if I would not need my goods again. In shame, I told her that I would come back, but I told my children that we would go to another store and with six children in my company, I walked to Wimpy. I stopped there because I could neither walk to my car nor drive home crying. I needed to hide my intense feeling from my children by keeping them distracted. As they sat down to eat, this gave me the opportunity to write down everything before I forgot.
As I wrote this, so many things raced in my head; Is it my African outfit that immediately attracted this female to treat me like the outsider I am? Is it my accent that pushed her to talk to me the way she did? Is it the way I spoke? Was I arrogant? Is she a normal South African woman just being herself? Too many question but one answer. I will never be a South African. Yes I accept that. But why does it have to come out in this manner? Why was she so bitter?
To Cindy the store manager; why did she have to tell me that all is OK and that I hear it myself, her colleague (subordinate for that matter) is not going to address me alluding that there is nothing she can do? Is Cindy in support of what this female did to my children and I? Would Cindy have done the same? I feel diminished by the mere fact that when I asked to speak to the store manager, she had been standing there the whole time listening as her colleague grills me?
Then the onlookers. What were they really telling themselves? No one condemned this female for addressing my children and I the way she did. Or maybe they did not do it in English. Is it because I am a foreigner? One thing is clear. I will never be a South African. But is this how it should play out?
Then my children. How often do I need to panic if I walk into a store in fear of exposing my children to aggressive explosions? For years, I have taught my children never ever to call an adult by their name because a woman that looks old enough to have a child is their auntie and a man is their uncle. Is it just going to take one shopping outing at Checkers in Balfour Park-Johannesburg to erase what I have taught my children for this long? I cried more, the more I thought about this.
Then my phone rang. It was 42 minutes after we left the shop. The caller introduced herself as Cindy and asked if I was ok. I said no and I told her that the treatment I got from the shop has left me with broken emotions. I told Cindy that I am sitting in Wimpy and all I can do is shed tears. She apologised and asked if she could come to see me, and my response was ‘if you like’. The she said ‘I’m coming’ and she hung up the phone. I continued writing and when the restaurant staff came to our table, I asked her how she would like my children to address her. ‘Auntie’ she said almost spontaneously. ‘Why?’ I asked, and she said ‘because that is the first way that children should address grown women’. I cried the more. I cried because this attendant is a second person who could be humiliated for doing this.
We left the shopping centre 51 minutes after the call and Cindy neither came nor called again. When I got home, I saw that she called me two times. Probably her calls came at the time we were walking to the parking lot or while driving home because with six children all under the ages of 11, a phone ring tone cannot break through their noise. I unfortunately have not heard from Cindy again and like would many, she’s moved on. Sheron has moved on. Checkers Balfour Park has moved on. But I have not.
I sent her a copy of this to the Checkers Balfour Park on Tuesday. Cindy called within 15 minutes of receipt to acknowledge receipt. She asked me if my children and I was OK and told me that she reported the incident to their head office. I warned her that I will make this public. Now I did.
But not before I spoke to a group of 3 parents all South Africans at my children’s school. The mixed group was made up –f an Indian, I 'Cape Coloured' and a Black Sotho woman. They all confirmed that in their cultures, an auntie is exactly what Sheron would have been in my thoughts, and that I did nothing wrong.
Thereafter, I felt more confident to share my experience with you. As I let this out, I still ask myself. If that was a cultural clash? I would like to engage more South Africans on their story stance in this matter. I have written a tribute to South Africa in one of my books. I will continue to pay tribute to South Africa and the beautiful people who make me feel at home here. But if there is one thing that I want to leave behind with every South African, it is the fact that they are the same like other people who live in their land. Some of them may know this and some may not. Some of them are xenophobic but many are not. Some of them are just bias to many more are not. Whatever choice we make, we are all children of the Universe. No better than the Stars and the Moon. We have the right to live. One love.

Thank you for reading.

Victorine Mbong Shu.

Author and Conversationist on Involved Parenting

 Availability of book

Copies can be bought from the following avenues;
 Victorine on +27 82 548 6385
My works on 
Publisher on +27 11 346 8300/ 
Xarra Books:
     Online in South Africa: 
     Hard Copies: +27 11 440 7501- Johannesburg or 

Amazon books on (search by book title) or eBook on  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Book Release ‘Stop Complaining! and Bring Back Involved Parenting’

Author, CEO and Mother of four, Victorine Mbong Shu has published one of a series of books on Involved Parenting. The self-published book titled ‘Stop Complaining! and Bring Back Involved Parenting’ was launched on the 3rd of March 2016 in Johannesburg by Profounder Publishing and Self-publishing (2016) as she continues working on the second book. In her book, Victorine writes that children these days seem to grow up very successful but appear to be emotionally lacking. That parents, caregivers and guardians are faced with challenges in parenting that go beyond physically and consciously being there for their children. As a result, they pay schools and institutions who raise children in compromising manner. To Victorine, Employers and workplaces are faced with distracted parents who among other things, worry about the challenges of bringing up stable and fulfilled children. Policy-makers are accused of being focused on drafting policies that attract investors that are focused on financial and not conscious (immaterial) gains. Governments are criticised for implementing policies that do not favour parents and children. Victorine asks that where and when did all this begin and who can do what about all this? 


It is worth remembering that:
‘Only adults can make children what they become and hope to be.
Most adults know this, some do not, but all children
will not know this unless they are taught’.

Stop Complaining! and Bring Back Involved Parenting is a book written to provoke not only parents, caregivers and guardians, but adults, institutions, policy-makers and governments in general, to come together and raise children in ways that they grow up valuing life. The book create an opportunity for adults to look back and try to find what went wrong in parenting that has caused so many breakdowns in value systems and cultures across the world. Without necessarily going into the details of ideals, the narratives in this book create a laid back reading companion. The book consider, with a sense of humour, the many distractions encountered by parents and adults in their daily parenting. It makes enjoyable reads because the book recount real life experiences of the author in her capacity as a spouse, a mother of four, a Chief Executive Officer and employer of parents and young adults, a multidisciplinary researcher, a motivational skills development facilitator and an author.
In this book, Victorine describes how mothering with joy, trials and tribulations has kept her going as a motivated and involved parent. She brings a lot of diversity into the book by sharing cases of mothers, fathers, married couples, separated couples, estranged couples, same-sex parents, biological parents, parents of adopted children, relatives who parent, friends parent, neighbours parent, and also institutional caregivers. However, she is adamant that she has chosen how she defines her parenting style, how she chooses to live with her children and her spouse and how she needs to navigate her daily activities; just like everyone else. Even though Victorine provokes all spheres by questioning the capability of parents, institutions and governments in current times, she encourages you to read this book to help with coping strategies. As you read, you will find out how families have managed to bring up children in times where more effort is being put into parenting than in the benefits reaped from being a parent.
To stop complaining and becoming an involved parent requires some investment in time, money and effort, and like every investment, it has challenges. These challenges can easily be combated by the type of mind-set we develop regarding children and their upbringing and then how we teach them. To stop complaining and bring back involved parenting, parents and adults have to look at the following cores; they have to break down parenting such that the role of mothers and fathers are defined. Thereafter, both parents have to be positioned, but continuously repositioned such that their roles are in line with their changing values and statuses both at home and out of home. Parents also have to normalise attitudes in their houses and in society on how they choose to groom their children. After this is done, parents will have to accept that family patterns today are very flexible, that there is a variety of difference in how different genders perceive and execute parenting and that single parents definitely parent differently from every other type of parents.
Involved parents like every other adult battle with themselves, with society, with children, with finances, with socio-cultural and other trials. When ground rules are laid as shown in this book parents, children, and institutions have to start focusing on consistency and continuity with certain degrees of monitoring and evaluation techniques aimed at the betterment of all. Children need to be conscious of the fact that adults are watching over them. As you look after your children, make this book your companion and enjoy the wisdom shared by all participants. Enjoy being an involved parent. Enjoy investing in your children so that they too might enjoy investing in theirs.
Victorine’s words
‘I wrote both books as a full-time Masters student who graduated within 18 months, a full time working mother of four and a wife, Chief Executive Officer, mentor, motivator and workplace skills development facilitator. My intention is to share how I managed to drive my children every day to and from activities, stayed with them, worked in my garden, fed my family home-cooked meals, supervised homework, made sure that we maintained our lifestyles by attending to every invitation both from schools and peers, and made sure I was with them, how I volunteered my time in their school and in playing with them, and how I did all this and still had time to sit in meetings, conduct training, spend time with their father and never missed a lecture or meeting at University. With your encouragement in time, skills or both, I would like this book to tell every parent, caregiver and guardian that my intention is not for them to be super parents, caregivers and guardians, but for us to be effective parents. Remember, both books document other people’s experiences and stories as well. Please push me. Push my thoughts and push my intention’.
Why read these Books?
These books are meant to redirect parenting, caregiving and guardianship such that old norms are reintroduced for the enjoyment of all; children, adults, institutions, policy-makers and governments. Of course they are not common titles and cited live experiences can also help to boost workplace morale. We do not have enough of parenting in everything we do, and this is almost evident in the type of children that we are grooming. Do we sit back and blame the children?
This set of books are set apart by the fact that they reflect real life situations of our times. The books and projects that will be born of them are aimed to revive the life everywhere including the workplace, and to recreate discussions between individuals and their bosses/employers but also with policy-makers on the topic of parenting. Given that children are tomorrow’s leaders, the creation and preservation of legacies across sectors and at different levels all comes with molding better children for the world. Implementing practices in both books could just be the expansion of your legacy.
Readership Includes
Readership of this book is wide. They include working and none-working adults of every gender including: Learners or young adults, parents, caregivers, guardians, policy-makers, administrators, business owners, etc.
·         The original books are 200 pages each, cover to cover and written in an easy to read manner.
Track Record
·         This book was self-published and launched on the 3rd of March 2016. Two weeks later (17 March) over 100 copies and counting have been sold.
A copy of the book is sold at R145.00.
  • Both books are the main readers. This means that there will be no support to reading them, except in cases where workshops are needed.
  • For no other reason, these books are aimed at every adult. They are written to prepare them on how to be self-disciplined, but also how to enjoy grooming children who may not necessarily be theirs.
For now, copies can be bought from the following avenues;
·         Victorine on +27 82 548 6385 /
·         Facebook on  
·         Her office/Publishers on +27 11 346 8300/  
·         Profound Conference Centre on +27 11 440 7501 /

·         Amazon books on (search by book title) or eBook on  

The author
Victorine Mbong Shu
Victorine is a businesswoman, researcher, workshops facilitator, conference speaker and chairlady, motivational speaker, wife, author and involved mother to four bubbly children. She is the founder and current chief executive officer of Profounder Intelligence Management Services Victorine facilitates workshops and seminars for executives and managers on a wide variety of topics. Most of her training are focused at employee and organisation wellness. These training are aimed to build and manage effective and friendly work environments. Through her company, she has accumulated a wide variety of clients that cut across sectors in over 18 countries. Her love for creating relationships that benefit children are eminent in these books. Her desire to expand the discourse beyond bounds has prompted her to initiate a non-governmental organisation named The Involved Corner.
As a mother of 4, employer and motivational speaker my journey and experience could also help to boost workplace morale should she facilitate in-house interactions at your invitation.
I thank you for reading this proposal and I look forward to hear from you. Please like the books’ Facebook page on to contribute or prompt discussions on this area. Work on Involved Parenting will be on
Thank you for your time as I anticipate advice on the way forward or a meeting with you at your soonest convenience.

Victorine Mbong Shu.

Author and Conversationist on Involved Parenting

 Availability of book

Copies can be bought from the following avenues;
 Victorine on +27 82 548 6385
My works on 
Publisher on +27 11 346 8300/ 
Xarra Books:
     Online in South Africa: 
     Hard Copies: +27 11 440 7501- Johannesburg or 
Amazon books on (search by book title) or eBook on  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One Day. We Counted that there would be four children.


Sexual Abuse. Want to teach your children some safety tips?

Sexual Abuse. Want to teach your children some safety tips?

I have always wondered how best to educate my children on self awareness and life skills. I have always thought that as a prayerful family, God will always watch out for us. But after all, I now think that talking is important. I think that it is of essence to let our children know about themselves, their body parts and who should or should not see, let alone touch their body parts.
I cannot help but think about the rise in childhood sexual abuse around the world.
here are some tips on how to help kids know their selves.
1. Teach children to listen to their gut or intuition. Most kids have an excellent radar on people. They can determine who feels safe and who does not ...listen to them. As adults, we tend to minimize what our children think. This is not helpful.
Our children must believe in themselves and listen to what their intuition tells them. Do not expose your children to people they have a bad intuition about. 
2. Talk about safety and secrets. As a rule, I believe we should never teach kids to keep secrets. If you are planning a party for someone, teach kids that this is a surprise. Surprises are good, secrets are usually bad. Begin at an early age at discussing what to do if someone tells a child to keep a secret. Because most child molesters are known to the victim, this is a common phrase: "It's our little secret." 
3. Do not be afraid to ask the tough question. When we as adults can't handle talking about a tough topic like sexual abuse, how in the world can we expect our children to handle it? Thus, do not be afraid to ask the question, "Has anyone ever hurt you or made you feel uncomfortable?" Then, be prepared for the answer.
If the answer is yes, do not freak out! Be supportive and comforting. Listen, use less words. Then, let your child know: "we will figure this out as we go along." 
4. Educate children about sexual abuse. A standard rule to use with children is "no one can touch your private parts except you. Mommies and daddies can help you if you are feeling sick and sometimes doctors need to check out our private parts, but always with a mommy or daddy in the room."  Even the smallest of children can understand this. I talk with little kids this golden rule: anywhere your bathing suit covers up is a private part. This helps them know the boundaries. 

5. Healthy touch is crucial to positive  development
hugs and snuggles, wrestling and high fives. Teach kids what healthy touch is about. Teach them who is appropriate to get touched from and how they can get it.
For example, do you hug every person you know? What if someone touches you and you feel uncomfortable? How do you handle someone getting in your space?
6. Be aware, tuned in and conscientious. Notice if things change in your children such as eating habits, mood or sleep. Tune into emotions and make sure that you know what they are about. Parents who are tuned into their children will pick up on subtle changes and address them quickly. Most sexual offenders "groom" people or spend time building relationships before they harm someone.
This may not be my original aritcle as  credit it to Your Tango, But kkeep watching this space as you and your children grow.
Victorine Mbongshu Ntambo

What’s “Fear” in Parenting and relationships?

What’s “Fear” in Parenting and Relationships?


It’s one of the worst four letter words in our language! Fear holds us back from so many things that could be great in our lives. Fear makes us procrastinate. Fear makes us physically sick. Fear holds us back from being great people and doing great things be it is business, relationships, hobbies, and so much more! FEAR is and ENEMY. I’m sorry to be so harsh, but let’s tell it like it is … Fear SUCKS! If you have to look at Fear in a positive mode, you will agree with me that there are certainly times that fear can be a useful protective mechanism. Fear here could be regarded in lines of parenting or toward taking steps towards decisions in our business.

So many people read, study, go to seminars, and basically know all there is to know about investing in their children. They may even participate regularly on and have every intention of being a good parent, but they have never stood up to say I did it!!!! Why? You guessed it, FEAR! Fear of the unknown, fear of being successful (yes this is a real one!), fear of failing, fear of being embarrassed, fear of sounding dumb, fear of being controlling, fear of being proud, the list can be long. When we are scared, we make many excuses to avoid doing the things we fear. The ironic part is that most times our fears are unwarranted. On the other side of those fears are the very things we desire in life. We just need to begin.

Basic Steps for Overcoming Fear

Ask yourself: what is the actual fear holding me back from?
Getting clear helps you know exactly what fear(s) you need to overcome.

Ask yourself: Is my fear real and truly warranted?
What’s the worst that can happen? Will my life be over if I proceed? Probably not!

Write out an action plan to reach your goal.

Many of us do much better with a written plan. It will relieve your anxiety. Try it!

Take small baby steps every day.

Trap yourself.

Parenting is a fun journey, you won’t have time to be scared, you’re too busy pushing and being pushed through the steps because the pressure from your children, friends and relatives is on!

Be accountable to someone else.
Find someone who you trust that will be there to hold you accountable to make sure you keep moving forward, EVEN IF YOU’RE SCARED! That person could be a friend, a partner or even your own children.

However for every woman and man, our fears are most often related to failing our spouses and children.

Don’t Fail them by not practicing innovative Parenting. Learn and work on your existing skills to not fail them.

Victorine Mbong Shu.

Author and Conversationist on Involved Parenting

 Availability of book

Copies can be bought from the following avenues;
 Victorine on +27 82 548 6385
My works on 
Publisher on +27 11 346 8300/ 
Xarra Books:
     Online in South Africa: 
     Hard Copies: +27 11 440 7501- Johannesburg or 
Amazon books on (search by book title) or eBook on  

Confession to my Business Mistakes as CEO of Profounder Intelligence Management Services

Confession (1) on Failed Women In Leadership Conference March 2016

I pray that you find it in your hearts to accept that sometimes, the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path that we needed to travel to meet the good things. Profounder Intelligence organised its second conference on Women in Leadership scheduled for the 10 and 11 of March 2016. My colleague who handed the project was passionate about the event and the most we could tell was that she learnt as much as we all did from the challenges that we encountered during the first conference; the greatest of which was the absence of major speakers.
Four weeks to the scheduled start date of the conference, this colleague resigned from Profounder with no notice period. We could not interrogate her as her resignation letter was sent after she left. As I wished her well, I hoped that the conference did well. It pulled a few delegates and yes we decided to run the conference. Speakers were contacted, some of which were still very enthusiastic about participating at the event. Others had taken up other commitments due to the long silence from Profounder. The new Conference Producer and her senior colleague tried to replace those speakers who had pulled out.
A few days before the conference, the number of registered delegates shrank to 12. Because all those who had not cancelled had booked their flights already (coincidentally they all came from other provinces), we decided to go on with the conference. Come the morning of the conference, Johannesburg faced rain like never before. City corners were flooded and its highways were congested. Delegates were all late to all 3 events that Profounder was hosting in the same venue on the 10th of March 2016.
When I arrived just after 9 am from picking up other delegates from their hotel, I was told that none of the speakers at the conference was present, and that even though the first speaker reported that she is at least 45 minutes away, the chair lady just texted to say that she will not be coming in. My presentation was scheduled for 10:15 am. As my colleague and I walked in to apologise, we were confronted by the first woman asking where everyone is. We explained the situation on traffic and added that we will wait for a few minutes. As we walked out, the scheduled 3rd facilitator of the day arrived. That meant that the first 3 speakers were confirmed. As promised, we started in a few minutes as we hoped for the rest of the speakers to come in.
At the end of the first slot, the centre was broken. One of the women labelled the presentation substandard and told us that we are insulting their intelligence. I tried to apologise but they could not listen. As they continued to with every reason question Profounder’s integrity, they demanded to see the management/owner because as it stood, they claimed to be wasting their time with me. I persuaded them to have a break while my colleague and I consulted the respected speaker who would present next.
I apologised after coffee and revealed that I was the owner of the business and that for every single reason, I would never have wanted things to go this way. I told them that I can show them proof of the fact that speakers had been consulted and that initially listed speakers had confirmed their participation. I asked the floor for suggestions on the way forward, seeing that the centre was loose. For this, one of the delegates called me a poor leader who cannot take responsibility, and who cannot make decisions. Another who chose not to look at me in that manner, suggested that we called in presenters of the next day who are able to come in, to present on day one so that we can have a one day event and cancel day two at a 50% fee by them. It seemed like a great idea from a frustrated and desperate business perspective, and because things were at this state, I fully concurred to that.
Again preceding were in order until with participants' permission, Stacey Fru presented just after 3:30 pm. Less than 10 minutes into his slot, the speaker after Stacey was interrupted. The same delegate who had done the talking told the speaker that like Profounder, he is undermining their intelligence. She said that they are no fools and that they cannot spend their whole day listening to unqualified presentations by males and foreigners in a Women in Leadership Conference in their own country. She brought the room to a standstill saying many things that space cannot permit me to pronounce here. Of course she threatened to blacklist Profounder with affirmation that they have done it before with the help of their Premier. 
All I could do was repeat how sorry I was. Clearly all did not help. Before I knew it, I was called a liar and a cheat. I was accused of being deceitful and for giving the delegates the impression that my surname is not FRU; all to hide the fact that Stacey is my daughter. She told me that I made them to believe that Stacey wrote a book even though she could not respond to a question on how long exactly it took her to write it. In conclusion, this delegates said that I must not think that South Africans are fools. That they are highly qualified and cannot be fooled; 'She said poor Stacey'!
I asked this woman to get her fact correct and not reduce whatever challenges have been brought about by this day to my person. Because emotions were high, the same woman with the one-day suggestion advised that my colleagues and I leave the room to give them space to consult. My God Bless her! As I walked out, I had no intention of breaking down and bursting into tears until I met one of the delegates who asked me if I was OK. How could you ask me this just after you told me that I impersonated myself and my daughter, I am under qualified, deceitful, a liar, a cheat and a foreigner? I am not sure if my tears helped but boy! Did I cry? I cried in full view of the delegates who left the room during the argument. I cried as my colleagues sat at the corner and as my four children all watched. One after the other, my children ran to me to ask what the problem was. To every one of them, I said 'work' was the problem.
Eventually, we were called in and the group handed over a document to sign the above decision. We signed, parted ways and that was the dead of the conference on Women in Leadership 2016 by Profounder Intelligence.

Real life challenges and empowering lessons
The first challenge for Profounder is that of human resources. Staffing is compromised in quality but also in loyalty. We have to look at this keenly and as the chief executive officer, the research unit should be my priority in monitoring and evaluation. The fact that my team had not been entirely transparent about everything to me and that I did not know about what I did not know, obviously liberated my conscious, but trapped my thoughts as I feel like truly I betrayed the delegates.
Secondly, in this industry in general, we have little control over how speakers and delegates conduct themselves. Even one of the speakers with whom I have worked very closely and claim to be a friend to, betrayed my organisation without seeing need to discuss her stance with me. Do I bear a grudge against her? Not after writing this. In fact, I thank her for the lesson of a relationship. I noticed that for a healthy working experience, we could demand more commitments from speakers and partners.
Thirdly, the conference should have been marketed over a longer time than 10 weeks. This would have given participants enough time to prepare. It would have given Profounder ample time to secure delegates, sponsors, exhibitors and other partners.
Lastly, quality does not have to be compromised. Not in the way we did, especially for a conference of this magnitude and not for any reason.

My attitude.
I am sincerely sorry that things fell apart at this conference. Failure is a business owner’s nightmare. However, I have great pity for those who buy brands and who go for names. I do not see how learning from a specific person is more empowering than learning a lesson. To any South African who still considers me and my family as foreigners, I make a pronouncement that this is my home and that this Country has given my children and I the opportunity to choose to live here. I do not have plans of going anywhere and the best part of me behaves like a South African. I find myself qualified in all i do as well. I treat my business with respect and will stand every insult of being a foreigner because yes I was born one. I will be a foreigner for as long as I live but I am academically qualified in what i do and I live South African.

Stacey Fru has been interrogated before on her works but I will not say anything in her defense. The choice is yours to make. All I do right now is remember a message from my big brother in June 2015 that said ‘there will be haters, doubters, and cynics, but take everyone along. It is not about you or ‘US’, it is about amazing Stacey - the author’. Did my brother see this coming? Sorry I am not a Fru and for all I know, I will remain a Shu. However, Stacey remains my daughter and she remains an author and a speaker to those who trust in her.

To you.
What I chose to leave with you is not just this message. What I chose to leave with you are the lessons of this message. The lessons revealed by the conduct of Profounder Intelligence, the partners to Profounder's ventures but particularly to this conference and the lessons revealed by its participants. The lessons revealed by the divine intervention in the manner in which events unfolded is important to my team and I. I am sure that they are important to your team and to you.

Please chose Profounder Intelligence Management Services in future.

Victorine Mbong Shu
CEO and author of the book 'Stop Complaining! and Bring Back Involved Parenting!.

Profounder Intelligence Management Services