t would be an understatement to say Boggenpoel is a professional A -lister. A chartered account
eader at the World Economic Forum, is former head of business engagement there; and is a Harvard Mason Fellow along with her many other achievements.
In the first pages of her book, Boggenpoel delves into her heritage: "I always knew my ilk: Jesmane Boggenpoel a Coloured girl growing up in Westbury, a Coloured township (in Johannesburg) notorious for gangsterism and drugs", she writes, using a capital C for defining her race.
While she is aware of part of her ancestry - both her parents coloured, her mother's father half Welsh and her mother's grandmother half German and half from St Helena, for Boggenpoel identity and heritage are key to unlocking the past and in so doing, generating a pride in whom one is and also building bridges through those differences and commonality.
''While I dearly loved and appreciated my family and community, when looking back into our history, I could not help but see the shame of being an illegitimate group and not truly knowing who we were - the narrative crafted by apartheid," she writes.
So after years of pondering her mixed and fascinating heritage which also reveals strands of other family trees, Boggenpoel had her DNA tested in 2016 through an overseas company called 23andMe and, about 11 weeks later, the results come back. She discovered she was 38.4 percent European; 28.6 percent sub-Saharan African with "a rather large dollop" (6.2 percent) Ashkenazi Jewish, a quarter South Asian and 6.9 percent East Asian.
For many this information would be folded away and shelved but for Boggenpoel it becomes a "treasure" in making her feel more connected with herself . She writes: "I felt a sense of wholeness and was more at peace than ever because I finally knew what my makeup was".
With a poignant and at times searing honesty, Boggenpoel pens some bittersweet memories. A close and loving family but with a past that had its many moments of struggle and enduring deep hardships. One particular memory shows her mother's love and pride. She writes of how she would walk her and her twin sister to school 40 minutes away from where they lived. Leaving her girls bedraggled and soaked early one morning at the entrance to the school after a downpour, her devoted mother runs back to the house and returns with dry clothes so that they can look neat and tidy for school....
A wall her grandfather built around their modest house becomes a symbol of faith and security and family love "It was strong and beautiful enough to create an inner space where the love and support of family was showered upon us. Within the confines of the wall, there was always affection and hope," she writes.
Hope and and a strong sense of determination despite the curve balls that were thrown at her both at unviersity and in the workplace lead to a woman of extraordinary endurance, passion for her work and a passion for inspiring others thought the connective tissue of organisations she's involved in.
Boggenpoel is not only an ardent businesswoman but an adventurer and has travelled all over the world and in so doing meets people who have had their own demons to fight and discover their own identities.
In this worthy book she shows how she has been able to set new boundaries and create "new narratives" for all to live. With painstakingly well-done research she uses examples and quotes of the many people she has met along the way to tell their stories in order to heal and allow for acceptance and that all-important word inclusion...