New Intellinexus CEO Zimkhita Buwa’s drive for business to double down on 'Data-Domino Effect'

Johannesburg, 12 Apr 2024
Jacques du Preez and Zimkhita Buwa.
Jacques du Preez and Zimkhita Buwa.

Intellinexus, a leading data advisory company, welcomes the appointment of Zimkhita Buwa as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) this April. This strategic move comes as part of a visionary leadership evolution, with the company’s founder, Jacques du Preez, transitioning into the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Buwa has been a trailblazer in the innovation and digital space, working her way up from SAP Business Intelligence Analyst at an African-based energy group to Chief Operating Officer at a well-known software development house, and later becoming Head of Intelligent Business Applications Core Practice at a global systems integrator and managed services provider for hybrid IT. Most recently, Buwa was the regional CEO at a global digital transformation service provider.

Her numerous accolades include winning the Techwomen Emerging Leader and MTN Outstanding Women in ICT awards, as well as being nominated for the Digital Female Awards in the category of Global Hero, representing women who follow diverse global goals and shape the world around them with their digital mindset.

Focus for impact

The decision to transition to a new CEO was a founder-inspired decision by founder CEO Du Preez.

“At Intellinexus, we’ve always been about the future and over-the-horizon thinking. Specifically, around the power of data and business. We think ahead, find solutions and become the experts. This transition to welcome a new CEO has been an aspiration for many years and is fully aligned to our vision. In response to our success and demand in the market, the time is right to double-down and scale our impact of offering technical depth around data capabilities. This requires dedicated focus. For our clients, welcoming Zimkhita opens a wealth of expanded board, executive and management support around data leadership and planning,” shares Du Preez.

“Additionally, we’ve experienced an increasing business need for deep technical support, practical experience and even 'data wisdom'. It is exciting that I can roll my sleeves up further and lead our Intellinexus expertise to new levels in my new role as Chief Operating Officer."

Intellinexus was founded in 2016 and quickly became a transformative force in the tech industry. Identifying Snowflake as a game-changing technology, Du Preez steered Intellinexus towards focused adoption, leading to the establishment of one of Africa’s first enterprise Snowflake clients and teams. As the company diversified its cloud and data competencies, Du Preez’s leadership propelled Intellinexus towards international expansion, with the establishment of Intellinexus Ireland in 2021 and a growing client portfolio of bluechip companies.

The 'Data-Domino Effect'

Buwa’s decision to take up the CEO role of a rapidly growing data firm extends beyond professional ambition.

“My decision is strongly motivated by my shared values with the founder, Jacques, and the Intellinexus team. We want to have impact – and I’ve found this team has unrealised potential to have a broad impact on key data imperatives for the country and continent,” explains Buwa.

Buwa is a strong advocate for leaders to push themselves to “think bigger, be bolder and move faster”.

“We know that beyond profits, data can transform societies. Leaders who believe in data’s potential – these are our people. This shared belief in the power of data can fast-track initiatives for social progress across financial inclusion, healthcare, education, poverty alleviation – all benefit from data-driven approaches.”

Buwa further elaborates: “Building strong data strategies and data capabilities has a domino ability to solve myriad pressing organisational challenges facing leaders.

“I look forward to engaging boards and teams around the paramount importance of leadership commitment in creating a 'data culture'. Why? Because employees are more engaged and empowered when data informs their work. In parallel, when leaders prioritise data, it permeates throughout the organisation and encourages cross-functional collaboration. This collaboration intensifies via skilled governance and responsible use of the data. You build trust and transparency with stakeholders, internally and externally. This rolls up into increased productivity and the ability to explore and deliver on new data-related revenue streams.”

Part of the impact agenda of Intellinexus is to facilitate dialogue and engagements around the “Data-Domino Effect”, which can create ecosystems that yield viable, tangible opportunities for real innovation and new, disruptive business models.

“We must collectively be bold, collaborative and visionary as Africa’s corporate leaders to build our data capabilities and compete by positioning the continent as a global data powerhouse. The opportunity is right at our fingertips. You can’t compete, let alone lead, if you have not built the right culture, mindset and data capabilities needed for insights and agility,” is the conviction of Buwa.

The era of collaborative data sharing

The statistics on the number of South African businesses that have data strategies and, separately, data management plans, is still concerningly low.

“Every day we see missed opportunities to leverage data to radically transform resource allocation, stock forecasting, personalised customer experience that could enhance customer satisfaction and drive loyalty. The spend and thinking in large groups is still fragmented – this is the gap we seek to bridge with the technical depth and experience we’ve grown,” explains Du Preez.

“Businesses talk about being customer-centric – and naturally it is data that illuminates customer behaviour. The major play now is around (big) data sharing between entities – suppliers and buyers. This is a big game-changer. For insights and cost savings. Our customers putting the hard work in now on these collaboration agreements and working with us to implement the correct cloud and data solutions are going to elevate rapidly with sustained growth, despite volatile market conditions,” concludes Du Preez.

In a similar spirit, reflecting their strong alignment and shared energy, Buwa adds: “This is where trust, collaboration and new ways of doing business around data kicks in. I’m looking forward to working alongside Jacques and our customers to support leaders to navigate this. This team has excellent global best practice and, through our deeper customer engagement focus, we will also deepen the localisation required to be responsive to the nuances of African regions.”

As the newly appointed CEO of Intellinexus, Buwa expressed: "The data journey is easy to be passionate about. We recently helped a client analyse vast amounts of customer data, which in turn helped them understand which products and services are most popular, which customer segments most profitable, and which areas of the business are underperforming in real-time! A year ago, they were unable to answer these critical questions. It’s this impact that drives us.”

Intellinexus will be conducting a CEO roadshow over the next two months, which will be open to interested parties. In addition, there is an open expression of interest to leaders seeking to participate or collaborate in the formulation of the “Data-Domino” dialogues. 



Intellinexus combines innovation, expertise, and access to top-tier talent to help organizations become smarter, more agile, and better equipped to navigate dynamic operating environments. As strategic data technologists, Intellinexus specializes in turning data into actionable insights, fostering adaptive, data-driven organizations.

For more information and updates on Intellinexus and its leadership team, please visit our website at