Image: Instagram

Noxolo Fani on her successful concrete company and entrepreneural journey

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Noxolo Fani is a black entrepreneur who owns a construction company, and everyday she’s breaking new grounds and making history – paving the way for younger generations, proving that taking calculated risks can be very rewarding.

Phenomenal Light Construction specializes in concrete and is Noxolo’s pride and joy. Some of the work they do includes door hanging, kitchen cupboards, built-in cupboards, shop fitting, ceilings, and general woodwork. They even give out DIY tips to make your home, office or any space more aesthetically pleasing.

In March 2022, Noxolo was announced as part of the 15 female entrepreneurs selected for the Sasol Women in Engineering Incubator Program.

“It’s really taken me back to thinking on how many years of crazy loads of work, early mornings, stress and sleepless nights it’s taken to get to where I am as an entrepreneur and as a businesswoman. The journey is ongoing and still full of those elements every now and again,” she said about her achievement.

“But you know what!? Every now and again the universe/God reassures us that our work does not go unnoticed! That we can succeed and that our dreams and efforts are valid! All the work I do may be a love letter to my boys that they might know and understand that it’s important to push oneself despite doubt, despite societal norms, cultural and worldly noise, despite challenges internal and external…

That one can achieve and reach more than they once thought possible simply because they believe in themselves and their wild & crazy dreams… and that I too believe in their crazy wild dreams because I lived it out in my own life!

But it is also a love letter to every young person especially those who are coming from small townships such as myself and affected by our history as a country through poverty etc. That you matter, you’re able and capable and you’re resilient enough. You have everything you need within and a bit externally as well in inspiration from those who pave the way for all in transforming our country and changing the narrative!

I’m always excited for the journey ahead but mostly to see more young women truly live out their dreams and shine! Nothing makes me happier than watching young people thrive especially women

Keep at it and if you haven’t started start where you are, with what you have. It’s never too late to start,” she continued.

In August last year, Noxolo was awarded the Mail & Guardian Powerful Women in Business Award, adding to her many accolades. Her journey continues to inspire many, and we can’t wait to see what else is up her sleeve!

Image: Facebook

The women of have a passion for traditional patterns with a modern twist

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Traditional patterns and materials often bring a sense of identity and pride in people, especially a diverse people like South Africans. This is exactly why this group of creative women living in Johannesburg, Gauteng, decided to start a The range is a collection of beautiful and practical items made from traditional 3 Cats Shwe Shwe.

The Eco Smart Group was founded in 2011 to upskill disadvantaged women, as well as provide mentorship and entrepreneurial support for women who do not have direct access to market opportunities. Their model is based around creating a circular economy within South Africa to create long term solutions and assist with the unemployment crisis.

Instead of waiting for handouts, these women decided to get together and put their passion for tradition and fashion to good use. “Our mission is to create jobs and reduce waste to landfill, so while you could never tell, the foundation and lining of all of our products are made from up-cycled billboards, tents and even off cuts from car seat overs! Some of our trims have also been reclaimed from old bags and other goodies,” they write on their website.

Image: Instagram

Althea is a DIY queen and so much more!

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

The days where women were expected to always be in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, while the men build houses are long gone and have been for a while. Nowadays, women embrace that they are just as capable and versatile as the next person.

One such young woman is Althea, a Do-It-Yourself queen with a face fit for television! “A woman of many talents,” in her own words. Althea has a passion for building and making beautiful homes, and recently she turned her low-cost home into a stunning upmarket guesthouse in a township.

Althea believes in staying in her own lane and focusing on her goals. ” The journey is not a race, it’s a marathon. The act of running is simple, one foot in front of the other. “The art of becoming a runner is achieved through a new mindset and commitment to change, especially if it’s new to you. It’s tough, challenging, painful, sometimes lonely, regularly uncomfortable and often excruciating…but the rewards are second to none, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that. I look at life exactly the same way,” she wrote on her Instagram account.

When she’s not busy building beautiful homes, you can find Althea’s gorgeous face on some of the most popular skin care products, proving that she truly is a woman of many talents!

Image: Instagram

Mia’s inspirational back yard salon

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Making a dream come true can be quite daunting if you’re met with many obstacles, but when Pretoria woman, Mia decided that nothing was going to stand in her way, her business, The Gentle Touch Co was born.

The Gentle Touch Co is a space where hair care meets relaxation, comfort and specialized hair treatment. The inspiration behind The Gentle Touch Co was taken from the history of a young black girl getting her hair done at the salon or in the living room by her mother.

The memory behind hair care has always been rough mishandling and maybe a few comb knocks to the head. The services offered at The Gentle Touch Co have been intentionally designed to care not only for hair but for health too. They believe in the importance of being knowledgeable and making use of natural ingredients that provide the best nourishment for all hair types.

Mia operates her business in the back yard of her home, and documents days of her life on Tik Tok and Instagram. Users of these platforms not only love the services her business offers, but her leadership style and humility as well. She treats her employees with the utmost respect and prays with them each morning before the rush.

Her journey is an inspiration to many, and proof that all you need to make a dream become reality is hard work, determination and humility.

Image: Instagram

Siyabonga Ngwenya’s Yummy Thingz wins Best Restaurant Award at Soweto Tourism Awards

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Food is one of the most fundamental things in humanity, like music and other arts, it brings people together and even defines cultures. When people agree on food, their bond often becomes even stronger than before. And that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when the people of South Africa’s biggest township, Soweto, came together and voted the Yummy Things Best Restaurant at the Soweto Tourism Awards.

Chef and co-founder of the establishment, Siyabonga Ngwenya took to Twitter to thank his patrons, and as a result, even more people on the platform were curious about the restaurant and vowed to visit it.

Like many entrepreneurs, especially in the arts and hospitality industries, Siyabonga has faced his fair share of challenges. The Soweto-born chef was a chef at the FNB Merchant Place in Sandton before the COVID-19 pandemic but was retrenched due to the disruptions.

However, Siyabonga was not about to give up. He instead started his business, Yummy Thingz under lockdown and ran operations from his home in Soweto. It grew quickly and he found himself in a position where he had no choice but to expand operations.

Now, the establishment he started under such strenuous conditions is considered the best restaurant in the whole of Soweto, what an inspiration!

So, the next time you’re in Soweto, you know where to grab a bite!

Image: Twitter

The man behind the flowers, Given Kazeni

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Most women love receiving flowers, let’s face it; they’re gorgeous, smell great most of the time, and they have the ability to light up any room. And what better month than February, the month of love!

If you’re a regular on Twitter, you might be familiar with Given Kazeni and his stunning bouquets of flowers from his business, Burgeon Flora. Given started his business in July 2022, and in just a few months he has garnered a huge clientele that gives him the nod with each delivery.

Burgeon Flora, without a doubt, has a success story that keeps getting better, one bouquet at a time. However, Given is not an entrepreneur who doesn’t know humble beginnings. In September 2022 he took to Twitter to share some of the challenges of owning a business.

“Had to make one of these deliveries by Gautrain today. Uber-Gautrain-meter-meter-Gautrain-Uber. R510 one delivery. This tweet is solely so I can come back to it one day,” he wrote. And sure enough, two months later, his business was able to buy itself a delivery vehicle.

Congratulatory tweets came flooding in from all directions to Given, applauding him for his work ethic, professionalism and inspirational journey. So, whether you’re looking to brighten up your home, show love to someone special, or even congratulate a friend, Burgeon Flora has just the bouquet for every occasion!

Image: Twitter

Actress Zikhona Bali’s inspiring poultry farming journey

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

You might know her as Asanda in Diep City, or Londiwe in Isi’thunzi, or even Lerato in Lakutshon’ILanga, but now Eastern Cape-born Zikhona Bali has added poultry farmer to her long list of accolades.

In this economy, no career promises to always be secure, so as an artist, Zikhona decided to start selling chickens. But because starting a business without capital is almost impossible, she joined a stokvel, and used her share to get started.

Zikhona’s entry into poultry farming has inspired many young people to be proactive in their careers, not be afraid to follow their passion, or even venture into new paths – you never know where gold is until you start digging!

The award-winning actress has been sharing her farming journey with her social media followers and has received so much support.

Next time you’re looking to buy a chicken for your Sunday roast, contact Zikhona!

Image: Instagram

Nzinga Qunta’s passion for journalism and little children

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

When it comes to women in journalism, South Africa has produced some of the best in the world! One such example is business reporter, Nzinga Qunta. Nzinga is a world class broadcaster. She works as a business news anchor with experience in radio and television, currently anchoring SABC 3 and SABC News’ daily business news show, On Point. 

She is a sought-after programme director for discussions, conferences, events and seminars involving heads of state, CEOs, entrepreneurs and social partners. 

Her work includes facilitating discussions at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2022, Davos Dialogues in 2021, capital market days for JSE listed companies, banks and organizations.

She facilitated discussions on two panels at the recently concluded World Economic Forum. This panel was titled ‘Realizing Africa’s Century’ and the panelists were the President of Switzerland, Alain Berset,
The Prime Minister of Tunisia Prof Najla Bouden, the Chairman of Multichoice Imtiaz Patel, and the Under Secretary of the United Nations Winnie Byanyima.

Taking to Instagram, the ever so stylish Nzinga wrote: “This is my second time moderating an Africa panel in Davos and each time it gets lit unexpectedly, it reminded me that our continent is diverse, vibrant and has many issues and opportunities. What a privilege to gain insights on how the debt crisis continues to cripple our continent, solutions and opportunities for investment and how innovation and partnerships with other countries can help us realize Africa’s century. It’s exhilarating moderating conversations on a global stage, this time with the support of the biggest public broadcaster in Sub Saharan Africa.”

When Nzinga is not being a media guru, she can be found writing books for little children. Her children’s book titled “Amari’s Adventures” is an interactive picture book about a little girl who goes on an adventure and encounters beautiful South African plants, animals and people. She encourages little ones reading the book to count with her.
Amari’s Adventures is available in all 11 official South African languages as well as Nama.

Image: Instagram

Earth Café in East London serves food for the soul

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

If you happen to be in East London, Eastern Cape, and in search of a tasty plant-based meal, Earth Café is the place for you. It is “a humble little café serving delicious and nutritious food”, and at the core of the establishment, is the overall health of each customer.

Whether you’re looking for a coconut crumbed fish burger, a poke bowl or even a tasty smoothie, Earth Cafe has something for everyone. You can even build your own burger – because no one knows your cravings quite like you – and listening to live music while you enjoy your meal!

But more than that, the team at Earth Cafe is passionate about everyone having access to a nutritious, tasty meal, regardless of affordability, times are tough, and they are here to make a difference.

One customer raved about Earth Cafe on Twitter:

#EastLondon Twitter: If you’re ever looking for delicious plant-based meals, there’s this nice little spot in Berea (across the BP garage) that I discovered recently. They also offer free or discounted meals for those in need and that really touched my little heart,” she wrote.

If you’re a Christian, the Bibles verse quotes on the boards will add an extra sweet touch, but even if you’re not, the motivational notes are bound to life any mood up!
Image: Instagram

Lethabo Mokoena’s inspiring 8-year business journey

BY Nkosazana Ngawdla

Washing your sneakers can be quite a daunting task, especially if you’re a sneakerhead with lots of pairs – and don’t us started on trying to get a stain off suede material, a nightmare!

That’s why when local entrepreneur, Lethabo Mokoena started his sneaker-cleaning business in 2015, he knew he would be successful; because let’s face it, everyone loves a good pair of fresh, clean sneakers.

Lethabo started his business at his home in Daveyton, a township in Benoni, Gauteng, with just R700 as capital and he named it Walk Fresh. “I had to drive from Daveyton to Braamfontein to get access to some of the key resources & knowledge that molded me to be the entrepreneur I am today,” he wrote on Instagram.

“Walk Fresh is a boutique sneaker cleaning and shoe-care service providing the best sneaker cleaning, suede/nubuck refurbishing, and maintenance for all footwear brands, makes, and materials,” the brand website reads.

Eight years later, Walk Fresh has four branches across South Africa with the prospects of even more growth.

“We find our freedom in what we do. We get the chance to define ourselves and be part of a family. Some of the processes and techniques we use are not found in textbooks or on the Internet. They are original; these are skills handed down by those before us. This is a legacy from our grandfathers, fathers, uncles and now us. The skill of utilizing a toothbrush for polishing shoes to using tissue paper for drying sneakers are those we have inherited,” the website continues.

Because Lethabo is passionate about transferring skills for the betterment of others, he launched Sole Survivors: an institute dedicated to teaching youngsters in townships how to clean sneakers and run sustainable sneaker-cleaning businesses.

Now that’s inspiring!

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