Maphano Mohapi: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger

What drives me every day is that I only have one life to live - Maphano Mohapi Click To Tweet

“Veni, vidi, vici”; I came, I saw, I conquered. Maphano Mohapi has indeed conquered all odds to be the phenomenal entrepreneur that she is today. Not only is she a social work graduate, nail technician and makeup artist with a spa business of her own; but she overcame and survived a fatal car accident in 2004 that left her unable to walk. Maphano was still in her teens at the time, but she found a way to embrace her tragedy and rise above it.

Maphano describes herself as an ambitious Mosotho girl with a knack and love for people. Because of this trait, she always knew she wanted to be involved in work that engaged with other people. Maphano began hustling in her bedroom; doing people’s nails in the comfort of her home while raising enough capital to grow the business. Phano ea Bophelo Beauty Day Spa which can loosely be translated as “gift of life” was born in 2012. 

Maphano Mohapi always wanted to be involved in work that engaged with other people Click To Tweet

A new lease on life

For Maphano, the accident may have taken something most precious to her; her mobility— but it ended up giving her a new lease of life. It ignited a passion inside her she couldn’t resist and built resilience so strong that it helps her navigate the daily challenges she faces while running her business.

After her accident, Maphano developed a resilience that helps her navigate business challenges Click To Tweet

At first, Maphano’s challenge was the means of a start-up capital which led to her approach the Lesotho National Development Corporation for assistance. When her attempts proved futile, she had to seek other opportunities and knock on other doors. Luckily her parents had faith in her business endeavour and offered to help her with the start-up capital.

“For most youth in Lesotho, embarking on a business is motivated primarily by the lack of employment. Hence it’s a survivor’s alternative to just lying around waiting for a job from God knows where.
“After completing my studies at university, I could not find employment anywhere. People with a disability usually get discriminated against certain jobs because of their condition,” says Maphano.

Maphano Mohapi 2Maphano isn’t one to sit and have a pity party over how unfair life has been. Rather, she is full of joviality and zest that even able-bodied people don’t have.  For Maphano, venturing into nail artistry and make-up was inevitable as she grew up loving art and has been painting since primary school. The only difference is that now she gets to do it for a living and smile all the way to the bank afterward.

For Maphano Mohapi, venturing into nail artistry and make-up was inevitable Click To Tweet

In order to perfect her skills, Maphano went to nail art school and make-up artistry school in South Africa.

“Initially Phano ea Bophelo was supposed to be just a rehabilitation centre for trauma but it turned otherwise. However, the funniest part is that actually clients upon visiting the spa find both body rejuvenation and mental rehabilitation.
“The social worker in me actually comes in handy because most women who come to the spa are usually laden with lots of problems and need an ear to listen. This is actually their safe haven where they can de-stress and connect with other women.”
Phano ea Bophelo is a safe haven where women can de-stress and connect Click To Tweet

At the initial stage of the business, Maphano collected clientele in her room through social work marketing. Even now, social media and word of mouth advertising have helped built up her brand and increase her clientele. Maphano’s perseverance and dedication has paid off as she was honoured and crowned victor in 2016 at the Finite Women appreciation awards under the entrepreneurship female category.

Her parents have been her biggest supporters and she speaks fondly of them as her role models. They inspired her to venture into business; having travelled the road before themselves. Maphano credits their advice as instrumental in helping her navigate the various challenges that face her business. Her innermost desire is to see

Maphano’s innermost desire is to see Phano ea Bophelo grow to greater heights and create more employment. Her last words are an encouragement to everyone, especially the youth to let their voice be heard and challenge stereotypes.

“Never give up on your dreams and remember you only have one life to live. Getting a second chance in my life moulded me into the strong, beautiful black woman I am today.
“What drives me every day is that I only have one life to live and the only thing I know how to do is to love because I don’t know what dead people do,” she ends with a chuckle.

About Mantsebeng Maepe

Mantsebeng Suzan Maepe is a savvy 23 year old, passionate social activist in women empowerment, youth and community development and a freelancer for various magazines and blogs. She is an economist and statistician by profession and is involved in numerous community development programs. Mantsebeng is also a country office representative/country coordinator for World Merit Lesotho; a non-governmental organization that strives to work towards achieving the sustainable development goals. She is currently working for PSI Lesotho,where she engages with young women and girls with issues related to their health and HIV prevention. She enjoys travelling and telling remarkable stories about women and youth who are making huge strides in their communities.

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