Twitter Chat with Olebogeng Sentsho: The importance of women owned businesses in male-dominated industries (Oct. 20)

women owned businesses olebogeng sentsho

Women have been making their way through traditional male professions for a while now. The latest industry to be tackled by women is mining. How is this move affecting the industry and the pioneering women that have decided to take it on?

Join us Thursday Oct. 20th for a twitter chat with Olebogeng Sentsho, founder of Yeabo Mining, a 100% black-woman owned business that focuses on waste management in the mines and also offers administrative and financial services related to mining.

If you’re a woman looking to break into a male-dominated industry, a swag-assisting man knowing how to support women in these initiatives or just curious about boss women in South Africa, then you should definitely be a part of the chat.

Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SheHiveJoburg to ask your questions and participate in the discussion.

Topics that we’ll cover:

  • Why male-dominated industries need more women
  • The perks and set-backs of an all women owned business
  • Challenges of being the only woman in the room
  • How to reduce gender imbalances in more industries
  • Advice to women trying to break into the industry, and men who want to help them

Twitter chat details

  • Date: Thursday Oct. 20, 2016
  • Time: 8am NYC // 1pm Lagos // 2pm Joburg
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SheHiveJoburg

male dominated businesses twitter chat

About Olebogeng Sentsho

Olebogeng Sentsho is a serial entrepreneur with interests in mining. She is currently the Founder and Head of Operations at Yeabo Mining, a strategic waste management company with plants in and around Limpopo.

Olebogeng studied law at the University of the Witwatersrand and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Business Administration.

Mrs Sentsho is also the Founding Chief Executive officer of the newly founded Mining Innovation Initiative of South Africa: a non-profit organisation of businesses and individuals in mining and mining services. MIISA works to promote, enhance, innovate and improve the mining climate in South Africa by catalysing innovation and promoting thought leadership and mining development to the general public, protecting the rights of mining businesses, and assisting these businesses to improve their sales and profits while actively enhancing their contribution to the communities in which they exist.

A recipient of the inaugural “Outstanding woman in Mining Award” at the Youth in Mining Business awards, The Head of the Mining and Technical Engineering Services Sector at the Progressive Youth in Business Organisation and a panelist at the recently held “Youth in Mining Procurement Transformation Summit”, Olebogeng is passionate about investment, the African economy, mining and socially responsible business practices. She believes that a more structured and Afro-centric approach to mining will grow the African economy and enable Africa to benefit from the minerals it rightfully owns.

Olebogeng believes in the dawn of Africa’s secondary economy driven by industry and the green economy.”



Pearl Lebusho: I don’t want young people to make the same mistake I did

pearl lebusho she leads africa
I had only one pair of jeans to wear to college and that motivated me to work extra hard Click To Tweet

Pearl Lebusho may have left university twice yet she devotes her time to ensuring girls stay in school. Coming from a rural community, Pearl knows first hand how schools can leave girls poorly informed on what to expect at university.

Driven by her passion to help young women from disadvantaged backgrounds, Pearl started the Miss Free State Schools Pageant. Miss FS Schools Pageant is a learning and social reformation programme that inspires and encourages young girls in South Africa’s Free State province through beauty pageants. This builds a community of models and supports girls who see modelling as a career.

When Pearl isn’t busy with the pageant, she helps girls attend the Matric dance (aka prom night) by providing dresses. She speaks candidly about dropping out from university and growing her social ventures.

You have mentioned that you don’t have a university degree but have pushed others to getting theirs. Tell us about it

I dropped out of university twice. The first time was in 2003. I enrolled for a qualification in Information Technology (B. Com IT ) at the University of the Free State. I was accepted. However, I had no clue of what that course entailed as I was from a previously disadvantaged school where we did not have career guidance or development.

The qualification was not what I expected. To start with, I had no background of accounting and computer from school. I failed my major course and NSFAS took their loan back. My mother could not afford my fees as she was going through a divorce then.

What did you do next?

I had to be enrolled to a college the next year. My granny had to pay for my studies out of her little pension money. I had only one pair of jeans to wear to college and that motivated me to work extra hard. That year, I got the best student of the year award.

I further completed my certificate in web design in 2004 and NQF Level 5 system support engineer in 2007, both in IT. I was forced to work and study to make it possible. My granny encouraged me to finish the qualification even though I was no longer interested. Then bang, it was the best idea because it got me a job.

But you were not happy with your 9-5, why was this so?

It was not enough that I was in a job. I was not happy, not only because I did not enjoy the work but because my heart was crying for the young people who were coming from the same background as mine. I was scared that they would make the same mistake I made.

In 2008, I started my school visits where I would speak to Matric students in schools and send them bursary applications. That was not enough as it was not resolving the core of the problem —why young people find themselves in wrong or unfulfilling careers. I continued to assist others with career advice but as I was not qualified to do so, I knew I had to get trained.

My heart was crying for the young people who were coming from the same background as mine Click To Tweet

Now, I am an accredited career guidance practitioner and have assisted thousands of students through my foundation, It’s Possible. I am now looking into having a Degree and PhD in Psychology and be a registered with the Council of Psychologists in SA.


What has held you back from returning to university?

First, time management. In 2010 for the second time, I enrolled at the University of the Free State and I was accepted in the faculty of Humanities to study a degree in Psychology.

I was also a newly-wed wife and a new mother of a 1 year old boy. With little money to afford a helper and stuck in a demanding job, I dropped out again. This time because I did not calculate my risks and plan my time.

I made a loan to finance my studies and all that cash was flushed in the toilet when I did not finish my studies again. However, I managed to finish and obtain the accreditation certificate in career development.

Another issue is finances. I have now three children that I need to pay school fees for and three younger siblings who are at university that I am also expected to support. I am currently trusting God for my breakthrough so that next year, I can have financial assistance to fund my studies.

The reason why I say I do not have a degree and do not mention my other college qualification, is because I want to see myself one day with my degree in Psychology. I want to be registered as a professional councillor so that I can fully advice young people about their careers and on the importance of choosing the right qualification.

Also, I want to own a walk-in centre where kids will have access to such information. I see myself referred to as Dr. Lebusho in the near future.

The reason why I say I do not have a degree, is because I want to get my degree in Psychology one day Click To Tweet

Tell us about the Matric dance, how do you ensure the project goes smoothly? Where do you collect dresses from?

The Matric dance is a project that I started in my Matric year. I had a friend who was a top performer in our class. As she was from a disadvantaged family, she could not afford to attend the Matric dance.

She did not have clothes to attend the dance with so I approached her and asked if she would not mind me lending her my evening dress. She agreed and I did exactly that, we bought her a cream relaxer and her sister did her hair. I also lent her my Sunday shoes. She was happy and we both attended our farewell.

In 2005, I started the project again with the help of a few ladies. As the numbers increased, I started collecting dresses from friends, colleagues and families and started having criteria for the students.

The criteria I use now is, I go to school and ask for top performers who are from disadvantaged families and I assist them with the dresses and other higher education related needs such as registration fees, application to higher education and books.


How will you implement your plan of expanding your project to employ fashion designers?

The reason I started Matric couture is to assist more girls and boys. The idea behind this is to have permanent staff, thus creating employment. I want to employ young upcoming designers with the aim to give them a platform to be known and gain experience.

I also want to ensure the girls have access to the latest trends so that they do not feel like charity cases. One of the challenge with providing dresses for students is that we need to alter and recreate the dresses to meet the girl’s needs.

Matric couture assists young South Africans with dresses and higher education related needs Click To Tweet

Matric couture will also hire out dresses to people who can afford them at a reasonable price. The money will go towards paying the designers and dry cleaning the dresses. However, the core reason for scaling up is to increase our budget for application and registration fees, books and other university related matters.

We also looking into buying back the dresses from the girls after their Matric dance. We do not want to give them hard cash but instead pay for their school-related items.

What drives you to work with rural and urban youth?

I spent my primary school life in a rural community and what I have observed is, young people in rural areas do not have access to information. In addition to this, they think low of themselves because of their background.

I am now living in a city, or urban area, where kids have access to too much information. This sometimes become a disadvantage to them. We face challenges with the high rate of drug abuse and alcoholism, teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS, gangsters and school drop-outs.

Working with young people from these background gives me an opportunity to learn and grow as an individual and groom the future generation towards the same vision.

What other projects do you see yourself working on in the future?

I see myself working on moral regeneration and career development programmes.

Hey South African #MotherlandMoguls, the SheHive will be in Johannesburg from November 3-6. Find out more here.

Looking into the stylist profession

stylist behind the scenes kendi sapepa

Style can be defined as; a distinctive way or method that a particular item is worn. As life would have it, not all of us are great at style, which is when stylists come to the rescue.

Being a stylist is fast-becoming one of the quickest emerging careers of the fashion professions. Stylists generally source, borrow and return clothing (if not bought) for various jobs. Most importantly, stylists are there to show how the clothes should be worn. Meaning, whether a shirt should be tucked in or not, sock folded or scrunched, top off the should or not, which turquoise clutch suits a look better etc.

stylist kendi sapepa
Photo credit: Kendi Sapepa

Their jobs vary, from styling photo-shoots, events, TV-shows, music videos and celebrity appearance, just to mention a few. On these projects/jobs, they often work hand-in-hand with hair-stylists, make-up artists and designers to put together complete looks.

How it works

How it works is that a stylist will decide on a style or theme for the specific job then start sourcing items for it. While sourcing, there may be some boutiques or clothing stores that require a deposit to hold.

This is as a form of security should the clothes not be returned or come back damaged or dirty. Others require a payment and refund when clothes are returned, while other boutiques and stores may loan clothes free of charge.

Once everything has been collected for the job, the stylist will ensure that they get to the client on time, in good shape (ironed, clean, no missing buttons etc) and are ready to be used. The stylist will also source shoes and other accessories to complement the looks.

  • Stylists can work in various publications such as magazines, on a permanent or freelance basis, where they source items for editorial photo-shoots or write articles on latest trends, personal style, do designer features and so forth.
  • Some stylists work with models and actors on set when recording films, soapies, adverts and so forth. They co-ordinate the clothes worn and may help with props as well.
  • Another option is wardrobe styling where stylists work one-on-one with the client in order to get rid of clothes that are no longer worn, source new ones and arrange them in such a way that everyday dressing becomes easier for the client.
  • Show styling is another option, where the stylist will dress all the people going on stage. For example, hosts and award announcers will be styled by the stylist.
  • One very popular profession would be celebrity styling, which is done by stylist who dress celebrities for all their appearances.
  • Another interesting career option is Brand Consulting, where a stylist can be hired to style a collection by showing the client how it can be put together to achieve various looks for the advertising campaigns, websites and all other media.
stylist kendi sapepa
Photo credit: Kendi Sapepa

How to become a stylist

So, how does one become a stylist? Having a fashion-related degree would be a great start. If you’ve studied something else and wish to start a career in styling, you could easily;

  • Start off with trial shoots, where you work with a team that is shooting, by helping around. This will be the start of you building your portfolio. Although some companies may not want to pay, due to little or no experience, you could work for free or reach a compromise with them and request that the company at least cover your petrol/transport expenses.
  • Build a contact book by building relationships; this will go a long way especially with referrals and word-of-mouth being such an effective marketing tool.
  • Lastly, advertise yourself and services that you offer. Have what you do in you your social media bio’s along with an email address or phone number that you check regularly.

The skills you need to become a stylist

These few points could go a long way, but there are some skills that you would definitely need as well. They include;

  • Having an eye for detail really goes a long way.
  • Being organised will help with deadlines or when you’re working on more than one project.
  • Doing your research when meeting with clients. Be it for a certain era, colour or mood, you will need to be well-prepared.
  • Being aware of latest trends and styles. Also knowing when and how to use them and also, when not to.
  • Knowing how to conceal body flaws (should the client wish to do so), or how to accentuate them, should the client want to.
  • Having patience for when business is quiet and when clients keep sending thing back and are not happy.
  • Being well presented, in dress, speech and how you are in general as you are a walking portfolio.



How to get started in PR with no money, no clients

shehive accra pr she leads africa

There’s a long list of business ideas that we willingly admit are hard to pull off without money, connections and clients. PR is one of them so when we got an opportunity to talk with Sasha Robyn who co-founded a PR company before starting BlogChatSA, South Africa’s first exclusive online bloggers show. Sasha’s I-may-be-a-rookie-but-I-can-do-it stance has helped her and we think it can help you too.

Here’s Sasha’s easily replicable winning formula for getting started in PR.

The skills you need

In order to succeed in the PR industry, you need to acquire skills that will help you grow and stay grounded in the nature of the business. These skills are

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Research
  • Writing
  • Creativity

img_20160617_211017Most important is the last one, creativity and perseverance. While it’s still debatable whether perseverance is a skill or a trait, it’s needed to keep you on track and ensure success.

Then comes the somewhat cliché word for Motherland Moguls; passion. You’ll need a strong drive to put in and offer your best to your client. This will set you aside from any other PR agency.

As for the resources, get a laptop where you can create a clients’ database. This will be a list of people to whom you render services. A laptop will also help  you create the social media strategy you’ll be needing to grow your company.

Setting up a PR agency with no money

Apparently in PR, money is not always needed to get your company off the ground. Sasha advises that an easier way to branch out into PR and make yourself known is to build on relationships and valuable contacts.

Then, create an online presence for yourself and/or your business. Your business will not flourish or draw interest from the broader public if you do not make use of social media platforms. They assist in driving the business and bring clients to you who are in need of the service that you project online.

When you build a website for your agency, make sure you keep it professional and simple.

Getting started on networks

Networks in business are important as they form part of the driving success of the business. In PR, your business thrives off the services that you provide to your clients.

According to Sasha, how and where you connect with people will determine the success and efficiency of your business. Attend events/seminars that would allow you to network with people. Consider engaging in public speaking as this would allow you to brand your company on a word-of-mouth basis. It’ll also make it easy for clients to connect with you and/or your business.

Source for people who have experience and knowledge in PR and can assist you in building your brand. Do your research on companies/people and the media (depending on your interest in the field).

Sasha’s 5-step plan to break into the PR industry

It takes a lot of dedication and determination to make your mark in PR. Whether you want to launch your own agency or find a job with another agency, these steps will help.

  1. Understand the media universe, including social media
  2. Find your niche/product/service
  3. Education/training
  4. Research local PR Agencies: learn their culture, areas of focus and how they functions.
  5. Network, Network, Network

Hey South African #MotherlandMoguls, the SheHive will be in Johannesburg from November 3-6. Find out more here.

Juanita Abrahams: Set yourself apart & stay true to yourself

juanita abrahams

Blogging has taken the world by storm, whether it’s done as a hobby or as a job, some are creating careers out of it! When fashion bloggers first hit our screens on E! Entertainment, it gave some of us a little insight  into what fashion bloggers actually do. We now know a bit of how they work with various clients and create an income through doing something they love.

So, still on my quest to explore various fashion-related careers, I got chatting with Juanita Abrahams, the Creative Director of Juan Leo. Juanita is a BCom Accounting student, who is currently completing her under grad, in pursuit of the esteemed CA (SA) designation. She is also a SAICA articled clerk and trainee accountant.

Please tell us a little more about yourself

I am also a SAICA articled clerk and trainee accountant, currently completing my third year of articles in pursuit of the esteemed CA (SA) designation.

From an early age, my hobbies included; design, art, photography and dance —and I dabbled in all of these for many years and often still do.

So let’s fast-forward to 2016, where that interest in design, art and photography has fully formed into what we know as Juan Leo Lifestyle, your blog, please tell us a little more about it

I’ve always loved fashion and design, and became quite involved in creative arts from an early age so the next befitting step after being exposed to so many opportunities within the industry and similar industries was to start a blog, which looked much easier at first.

We started out as “Faith, Fashion & Living Fabulously” which encompassed everything I believed in and loved. But my real goal was to build a different type of fashion community —one which isn’t focused solely on looking or feeling good, but one that focuses on others as well.

And naturally, the brand progressed and we underwent some rebranding of sorts and landed up as Juan Leo Lifestyle. It hasn’t lost the meaning or purpose of the brand —focusing on faith and fashion with a greater purpose. It basically refers to not competing, but offering something more to the world and distinguishing ourselves from everyone else.

I must say, that’s rather unique, combining fashion and faith, so how do you marry the two?

Through networking and building relationships with businesses, companies and local entrepreneurs. It’s about ensuring the cycle of giving back never stops.

Although, we do focus on fashion and lifestyle aspects, we retain being a platform for a purpose and our current focus is on being a support to local designers, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, and not just in Cape Town.

We’ve identified gaps in the market and I think it’s quite obvious that many individuals have the dream and the talent, but lack knowledge in terms of social media and marketing themselves and that’s why they struggle or they become stagnant in the growth of their business. And that’s where we come in.


I think that’s quite important, considering I’ve come across many companies that position themselves as ‘being there for the small businesses’ but when it comes to working with them, they shy away. How do you help small business?

We’ve also recently started Pedro by Juan Leo —a menswear fashion and styling division aimed at the modern man.

I have wanted to branch out for a while and we’ve finally found the perfect team for this. This allows us to reach even more start-up companies and brands, and also impact a greater audience.

So on one end, you’re driving traffic to smaller brands and business, how does the other end work? How does a blogger create income through blogging?

I would say I wouldn’t know because this isn’t our first priority but bloggers do charge per post, or per Instagram photograph posted and this is dependent on your followings. This is by means of sponsored posts primarily.

Many bloggers with a huge influence can be seen being hired for commercials/advertising, campaigns with big retailers and the likes —there’s opportunity everywhere if done right.

I’m sure bloggers get paid for every little thing under the sun that you haven’t even imagined yet —from public appearances to promoting garments at an event and online and everywhere in between and I’m not too sure how I feel about it. I believe you should stand by your brand and quality requires payment.

Juan Leo’s main income would be from;

  • Brand photography
  • Content creation
  • Fashion photography for other bloggers (and it’s my favourite! Passion drives everything)

Would you say that blogging is a viable career choice?

Career? Perhaps. Viable —I’m not sure.

Blogging itself can become a full-time job if you’re prepared to make a few huge sacrifices in the beginning and are also prepared to stand your ground when it comes to payment. Your following and content quality play a huge role in securing work —real work.

I’ve watched many bloggers or creatives evolve and boom straight to the top without realizing it. Once you reach a certain point, managing a full time job and a blog is quite time-consuming and if blogging is your passion, it will eventually pay the bills while you’re having fun and doing what you love.

Would I do it? Yes and no. ‘Yes’, because I love it, and ‘no’, because there’s more to blogging than just looking good and showing off a lifestyle. I’ll blog and do everything else that isn’t shown online —that makes me happy.

Bloggers move through ranks in my opinion (and if no one has noticed). It starts off as a blogger, and evolves into everything from a digital or fashion influencer to a brand ambassador, social media marketers and eventually lands positions on radio or TV.

It’s amazing how the ripple effect just takes over.


With such opportunities that can come from being a blogger, I can imagine that there would be an influx of new bloggers —and with so many, there would surely be some common traits and similarities amoung them. What would you say is popular or trending among blogs today?

I’ll be frank —I don’t like following trends and I rarely keep updated with them.

I’m more about the timeless things and if I so happen to purchase something that’s “trending” —cool, if not, oh well. Blogs have become such a popular thing in their own right that you truly have to differentiate yourself from the crowd while staying true to who you are and what your brand is about.

Everyone is entirely crazy about beauty, contouring (which definitely isn’t one of my things), the same clothes and the same shoe brands and styling them. It’s enjoyable content, but very few have things that stand out.

Of course we’re also all updated with the latest press releases, but I think more people should make it their own. Maybe we should ask “what’s not trending among blogs today” and we will find a better answer.

Well said, I also like the idea of being different and doing standing out, which in the long run, attracts your niche audience and develops your brand’s identity. So with that said, how would you say that bloggers can set themselves apart?

To set yourself apart your brand should;

  • Stay true to who you are and make sure people can relate to your content. I don’t easily share personal moments with friends and family, just because it’s my special time but showing a piece of that side at times makes you appear more “human”, approachable and influences the way other brands view your influencing power.
  • Have a goal, a vision and an aim. You can’t take on every job that comes your way, or work with every brand. Only do what works for you and represents who you are and what you want to portray. It’s not always easy to say no, but sometimes we have to. My team reminds me of this from time to time because when I see opportunity I jump head first.
  • Also, offer something no one else is offering, or offer it in a specific way, for example, don’t just do make up and beauty —do it in a funny way, create your own trends, teach something new that you created instead of copying the trends out there, create your own unique statement garments.
  • Work with brands that people haven’t heard of, and build them up. Someone will notice, somewhere.
  • Think about what sets you apart as an individual and do that. That’s where your career begins.


Where do you see your blog in the next 1-2 years?

Our short term goals —grow our social media and take it to new heights while staying true to our vision. This would not only drive the opportunities for our team/blog but also allow us to expand to help more people.

My big dream is to own a media house of sorts or a boutique —a unique one known for fashion, film, photography, media, writing and design. Everything I love all rolled into one.

We’re also focusing on expanding Pedro by Juan Leo on a greater scale and will soon start designing our own key pieces. Regardless of what we do, I hope that the next two years sees us helping more people than we ever imagined, and being lifestyle changers for the world.

We’ve got quite a few business ideas in the mix, and although I’m dying to share it, let the audience watch this space.

Other South African blogs you can check out, which happen to be some of Juanita’s favourites include;

  1. Fashion Breed by Aqeelah Harron-Ally
  2. Birdline Blog by Nadia Jaftha (my absolute fav!)
  3. Baked the Blog by Aisha Baker
  4. Just Jade Blog by Jade Robertson 
  5. Qaanita Orrie

They all have something different to offer audiences, and although they appear similar they inspire me for different things.

Gabby Malope: I have a life toolbox for every challenge

gabby malope she leads africa

From regaining the ability to walk after an accident left her in a wheelchair to training subsistence farmers in agriculture, Gabby Malope has a lot of life and business experience under her belt.

When she spoke with SLA contributor Makalela, Gabby spared no details on how she found her way to becoming a facilitator, her foray into counselling and how she believes she’s walking the footsteps of her role model.

Tell us about yourself.

I am very bubbly by nature, I love traveling a lot and meeting new people. As a child, I never got opportunities to express myself so growing up, I couldn’t wait to experience life’s challenges and battles.

I was always protected by my twin brother. His passing away left me broken and very sensitive. In 2007, we were both involved in a car accident that took his life and left me disabled. My life took a downturn due to the accident. I was declared unfit to work or function in any corporate environment.

People always told me I should stay in faith and that I will be all right. I never took them serious until in 2010 when a huge miracle happened. One night, I was sleeping and woke up to go to the bathroom. When I stepped out of bed, I fell to the ground. I was so happy, I screamed with joy because I could walk again.

I shouted so loud, neighbours came running in thinking something terrible happened. That was the day I found my favour with God. Since then, I live my life like tomorrow will never come, each day is a gift for me.

How did you get into being a facilitator and what has been your experience running a business?

In 2006, I was working for an NGO called Siyaphila Youth Support Services. It was led by young people under the leadership of Mrs. Nondumiso Phaahla. The main focus was dealing with HIV and poverty alleviation projects. My strength was with peer education, I just loved talking to my peers because I knew the peer pressure we were facing at that time.

Even after the accident, I still went to work while on a wheelchair. That was until 2012 when I was invited to come do some motivational speaking in one of the City of Tshwane Events. Someone after speaking asked me if I had ever thought of being a facilitator because he saw that in me.

One day, I decided to register a company that will help me be eligible to offer my facilitation skills. Then I realized that I needed to get trained to be a better facilitator so I shopped around for companies that offer that.

I found one, then I enrolled. Shortly after finishing the training, a lady called me to ask if I could speak isiZulu. She was looking for people who can train 500 people in KwaZuluNatal in isiZulu languages.

The phone call changed my life for good. Ever since, I have been a training specialist in farming while managing the farm I produce crops from.

As for my experience, I had to get equipped to be able to deliver quality work. So I took agriculture courses to be prepared for any challenges. I currently run a training academy of agriculture in Vastfontein in pyramid Hammanskraal.

I always have to be on top of the production because if you take your eyes off, you lose a lot. The farm has to produce more and more every year and the training centre has to grow every year. So far, the journey has been quite exciting.

Why did you decide to go into counselling ?

It was after the ordeals that I went through. When people hear my testimony, they often ask me how I managed to pull through. Mostly, these people were ladies who were troubled by their daughters who were in my age group.

They needed answers and I would always counsel them before going to my peers. That grew even more when I joined the Hatfield Christian church to study at the Life Training School (LTS). A few of the courses that I did helped me to grow in the field of couselling. This was combined with the training I got from the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) and the Department of Health.


How do you determine which products to grow on your farm?

The market and consumer always guides us on what to produce more than anything. We produce cash crops because as a farm, we must produce what will be able to carry daily running costs of the farm. The farm workers also need to be able to earn a living.

We produce big crops such as green peppers, cabbages, onions, chillies, beetroot and potatoes, which takes more time that spinach.

The response to market makes it easy for us to farm a lot of produce. Other crops are seasonal and that makes it hard to produce them every season.
We also donate some of our products to the care homes and orphanages. That’s more like our corporate social responsibility within our area.

What is your greatest strength?

I have a toolbox of my life for every challenge. I have a tool that fixes any specific challenge.

Also, I grow from the challenges that I come across so I never run. When the beast is in my yard, I stand and carry my cross.

Who would you say is your role model?

My uncle Mula Peter Malope. He worked for few years then, he took his savings and bought a combie. Ever since, he has been running his business. He has even opened a shop. He never worked but made his dreams come true. To this day, he is still running the taxi business.

Most of us in the family no longer have mothers and fathers. Our parents were never there so he had to care for our livelihood. My uncle stood by his words when he said we will never be orphans. To this day, he still manages the family and ensures that every year we all meet for a family gathering.

I love him very much. He is so humble and kind and he is always encouraging us to advance. When he calls me, I know I will laugh a lot because he calls me ‘tshwena” which means “monkey” in Sepulana.

Also, my uncle always wants to help people and give them a job so they can have something to eat. I am very proud of him. I feel like I’m walking in his footsteps. There are times when I wish I could just tell him how much of an impact he has made in my life. He is he father I have never known.

If you could be any age for a day which age will you choose and why?

Definitely 25, just for the body shape I had.

I used to look fabulous, now I am a bit grown up even my body says so too.

Gabby can be reached via her mobile phone (076 722 4194) or email (,

Words of wisdom from Africa’s first lady of entertainment Bonang Matheba

bonang matheba

There is nothing better than seeing our fellow African women killin’ it in the game. Bonang Matheba is a South African television host, radio personality, and business woman.

From, hosting  the red carpet for E!,  being the brand ambassador for Revlon South Africa and mentoring South African girls. Bonang can be inspiration for all of us due to her passion for African women and woman empowerment.

Here our some word of wisdom from Bonang  that any #MotherlandMogul can apply to their lives.

Cutting out the negativity

“I’ve had to cut out a few acquaintances after realising that negative energy from people I associated myself with would weigh me down, letting go of such relations helped me focus on my career and self development.”

As DJ Khaled affectionately put it, stay away from they. Negative people can take up your time and time is money.

As the old saying goes you are who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers soon enough you will find yourself becoming one of them.

If you want to be fulfilled, successful, and career focused, make sure you constantly surround yourself with people who are the same.

Be whatever you want to be

“We live in a world where everyone has the ability to be whatever they wish to be no matter the circumstance or environment one comes from.”

Sometimes we get into the habit of letting opportunities or great ideas we have pass due to our previous experiences or the situations that we are in.

Your dreams are valid.

Your circumstances don’t define your future.

Never let go of an opportunity you believe in. Never doubt yourself or let where you’ve come from define you.

destinyHold on to your confidence

“Always be confident in your skin and your capabilities. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me, “No, you can’t do this. No, you can’t do that,” but I always remained confident in myself.”

Don’t let a few no’s or failures tarnish your confidence.

Bonang didn’t easily reach over a million Twitter followers or become one of the most influential people on the African continent. She isn’t an overnight success story.

Bonang  was turned down in at least 25 auditions before her first big break at YFM radio, she auditioned 9 times to be a presenter on Live Amp.

Some of us would have threw in the towel after the first 3 rejections but Bonang didn’t take no for an answer.

“Rise above, replace hate with love and pray, work hard, dress up and kill it.”

“You need to grow so hard and so thick and so strong to a point where it doesn’t matter what people think, you need to do what makes you happy.”

In others words,


Hey South African #MotherlandMoguls, the SheHive will be landing in Johannesburg from November 3-6. Find out more here.

Given Mnane: I started modelling to keep myself busy

Given Mnane

Every pageant entrant has a unique story to tell about the pursuit of taking home the crown. But what’s more interesting is the story of a married woman and mother who takes her shot at a dream.

South African businesswoman Given Mnane is a mother, mentor and top 40 finalist for the Mrs. Africa Pageant. In this chat, she lets us know why she mentors girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, lets us see behind the scenes of pageantry. Given also shares why she hopes to win the Mrs. Africa title. Inspired yet? Keep reading, it gets better.

Has it always been modelling for you or did it just happen?

Honestly, it just happened.

After my first child, I needed to keep myself busy so I entered my first Pageant, Mrs. Rustenburg in 2011 which I won and as they say, the rest is history.

What did it take to make it to the semi-finals of Mrs. Africa.

I had to fill in grilling questionnaires and send in my pictures. Being already involved in charity also helped me get considered as a finalist. All it took was my knowledge and love for my continent and my country.

When you love someone or something it becomes easy for you to care, protect, grow, assist and to devote your time and attention to that.

I’ve always loved Africa and for some weird reason, I was expecting to be in the top 100 at the very least but to my surprise, I made the top 40. Being here, for me, it means I can use this platform to bring the much needed change that the disadvantaged of my community need.

I’m on a platform that allows me to change a young disadvantaged girl’s life through the Dignity Dreams Foundation —a foundation that provides girls with washable/reusable pads.

Tell us about your motivational talks.

First, I believe in human greatness and I always speak on issues that encourage people to find themselves and to establish who they really are.

I believe everyone has a God-given purpose to fulfill and I try to assist whoever cares to listen find purpose and live life to the full.

I’m very passionate about the development of women and girls and I largely speak on issues that affect or hinder women’s growth. I do corporate and private functions, MC jobs, conferences etc.

given mnane mrs africa

Besides modelling, what do you do?

I am the proud owner and director of a company called Onalekgato Consultancy Empire. This still-developing company offers a variety of services like life-coaching and image consultation. We are branching into home design & hopefully, Architecture. The aim is to give our clients a holistic and solid lifestyle – from their home to their looks.

I’m also a lecturer at my local community college called Iphatlhose in Tlhabane, under the department of higher education. I teach Natural Sciences.

I mentor Given’s Angels, a few young women from all walks of life. Given’s Angels is a social club aimed at assisting young ladies in becoming aware of life’s issues. We help them become exceptional and independent women.

I’m a philanthropist, I do charity work around my city Rustenburg. I collect clothing and shoes then distribute them to the needy. I also do events to raise money for homes/shelters. Lately, I’m raising money to buy Dignity Dream packs for girls so they don’t miss school during their periods.

How do you handle the pressure, especially as you are involved in a lot of projects?

I have pastimes like seeing movies and baking. When I feel pressured, I do things for fun. This helps me get a clearer picture of what I should be doing.

I believe one has to work hard but play just as hard.

Soapie or drama?

Nothing wrong with soapies I guess, but they are just not for me. I wasted too much time on soapies growing up, time that I can’t get back.

I’m going to choose drama instead, even though I prefer documentaries.

You’re also a mentor. When did you start mentoring? How do you pick your mentees?

I started in 2012 with one girl and by 2014, my mentorship program had grown to 18 girls and 5 women. I always allow my mentees spread their wings. It’s easier that way to ascertain if they’ve learned anything and can stand on their own feet without me being their support.

This year, I resorted to having a manageable number of 12 mentees and they are starting to flourish already. I always choose my girls based on their background. I prefer the girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, girls with low self esteem, those that feel hopeless and sidelined.

What will winning Mrs. Africa mean to you?

It will mean I can make my continent great by empowering African women. There’s a famous saying; ”Empower a man, you have empowered a community, empower a woman, you have empowered the entire nation.”

Africa needs women who will rise up and make it great. Winning this title will break the barriers of the ‘no entry’ and ‘not adequate enough’ signs that have labeled me. I will be able to steer my continent towards the right direction.

Want to see women you know featured on SLA? Tell us what amazing things women are doing in your communities here.

Noluvuyo Cakwebe: There’s much more to fashion designing than fabric cutting

Noluvuyo Cakwebe

When thinking about a fashion degree, the popular career choice would be being a fashion designer or seamstress. But there are many more than that. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be unpicking this industry along with its various career options. I’ll be shedding a little light on each career option in this industry.

I ‘e-met’ (met over email) Noluvuyo Cakwebe earlier this year when I was sourcing clothes and shoes for a photo-shoot. Her willingness to help, without knowing me from a bar of soap was amazing, I couldn’t simply forget her! Of course, when I started this journey of finding out more about this industry, I immediately thought of her!

When Noluvuyo isn’t in the kitchen, (which she loves), cooking up something delicious to share with her friends and family, she tries to keep up with her love of running. She enters as many running events as she can. And in the few minutes she has for herself, she is always sewing up something for herself or her friends.

My series of articles on fashion-related careers is aimed at educating people about the various career options they have with a fashion qualification. Would you say that someone who also has a National Diploma in Fashion has other options, besides being a Fashion Designer?

Most definitely, most people think that fashion ends with being a fashion designer, pattern maker or fabric cutter, but it is broader than that. One can go into procurement —buying, sourcing, retail planning, retail–visual merchandising, sales, store management, personal shopper/stylist, editorial assistant, quality assurance and warehouse assistant/ manager.

Yes! Being a fashion designer is not the only option! I understand that you’re a merchandise coordinator. Please tell the readers a little more about your position.

I am the merchandise coordinator for the men’s fashion department, at Spitz.

My role entails assisting the buyer with raising orders, liaising with suppliers and the marketing department. Also, I manage and receive department samples, compile trends and competitor reports, compile and analyze sales and month-end reports.

And how did you get into this career?

I studied a National Diploma in Fashion and further completed a certificate in Wholesale & Retail Buying & Planning. I studied at the University of Johannesburg and got my certificate in Wholesale & Retail Buying & Planning at EDCON under SETA.

What does your typical day look like?

It is nothing like a picture from the Devil Wears Prada! I come in every morning to catch up on emails relating to stock deliveries and due costing for the stock to arrive at the warehouse.

Then, I ensure that we are receiving stock at a good margin and good price. I analyze daily sales by identifying good and best sellers (stock that’s selling well or badly) for my brands.

Alright and how would you combat the poorly performing stock? How do help them perform better?

As much as we try to buy styles based on fashion trends and sales history, it is sometimes hard to nail the sales we project. So we analyze what the possible reasons could be. For instance, it could be a certain style detail that could have been in fashion but doesn’t seem appealing to our target market.

Other instances could be price-points. We may just be highly-priced compared to our competitors and need to reduce the price. Sometimes, we may have missed opportunities in allocating stock to the correct stores. So we move the styles to stores that are performing better.

With our South African economy and unemployment looking very bleak, would you say that a career in fashion offers the possibility of entrepreneurship for graduates?

Yes, I believe anyone can start any business with the use of their hands and minds. One could venture into making simple things such as handbags, accessories, clothing or curtains, to having a business that sources t-shirts, work wear, and small corporate gifts. Nowadays, most people are even making money from blogging in their spare time. Some sell a variety of products over social platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook.

However, one should never underestimate the advantage of working for someone. That’s if you have a dream of starting your own business one day. You get to absorb a lot of skills and knowledge. Especially if you are intending on starting a business in the same industry. Experience can go a long way.

What would your advice be to scholars who want to follow a fashion-related career?

This might sound cliché, but I have always known I would end up in the fashion industry since I was a little girl. You need passion for the ever-changing trends, be creative and highly driven. Being able to work efficiently on your own, work smart and plan your week in order to make necessary deadlines are all important.

A sharp eye for detail is required in ensuring that you don’t miss anything crucial.  Breaking into the industry is tough and competitive. But if you have a vision of the future, your career journey will be enjoyable and fruitful. Have fun exploring other career paths that you could possibly have an interest in the near future. Never limit your abilities!

Do you have any advice for the parents of the scholars wanting to follow a career in fashion?

I have always appreciated how my mother supported me, from the day I told her what I wanted to study in varsity (fashion). There is a lot of pressure in delivering what is needed, especially when your child has more than 6 subjects in one semester.

They will need support in advising them on how to manage their time, with school and their social life. Parents should prepare themselves for unforeseen expenses for projects and fabrics. With so many activities and promotions that are held on campus, they give your child an opportunity to make extra money.

You can find Noluvuyo on LinkedIn as; Noluvuyo Cakwebe.

Want to see women you know featured on SLA? Tell us what amazing things women are doing in your communities here.

“You create your own luck by working hard”: Lessons from international fragrance and body care brand, Malée

zeze oriakhi-sao malee shehive london

If you’re part of the SLA community, it’s likely that you have big dreams just like Zeze. Enormous dreams. Huge ones. The “I want to be Africa’s answer to L’Oreal” kinda dreams. That was Zeze’s dream for her healthy luxury fragrance and body care brand Malée, and over the last few years she has taken major steps to pursue that vision. Go girl.

But how do you get to that point?

How do you give yourself the right tips and stretch yourself?

We know, it sounds quite overwhelming right? That’s why Zeze came to #SheHiveLondon to break to down for us, and lucky for you —we’ve got some of the best snippets from her talk.

(By the way, nothing beats hearing all the gist for yourself in person —so try and make it to a #SheHive event near you, we’re in Lagos this October, so don’t dull yourself and get your ticket now).

First of all, Zeze wouldn’t take no for an answer

Even when pros like her college marketing professor told her that there was no real opportunity for a brand like Malée, it didn’t stop her. She was relentless from day 1, travelling across South Africa to find hotels that she could partner with to stock her brand, and giving them products on consignment.

Zeze took a step of faith and learned the ropes as she went along, looking for every opportunity to get her high-end, value for money product into the hands of her customers. She also went to major trade shows in the beauty and fragrance industry, such as Top Drawer in order to meet potential retailers who could stock Malée in their stores.

Looking back, Zeze knows that no experience goes to waste

From working in the stockroom of Faith Shoes, she learned the ropes of retail and running the store. She reminded us to “count everything you know today as something that will prepare you for tomorrow”.

We create luck by working hard, and within a few years her hard work began to pay off. Malée was featured on CNN in 2011, giving it some major exposure. But that was just the beginning.

By 2011 Malée had won two awards, and by 2012 it was featured in one of the world-leading trend forecasting websites Trend Bible, confirming that Malée would be the next big thing.

Malee online laboratory

But building a successful business doesn’t come without its challenges

In the same year, Zeze launched Malée’s first physical store and manufacturing facility to help other small businesses create new products. Shortly afterwards, she had to rethink her business model, and make some major changes.

That included closing the retail store and manufacturing facility, which was difficult, but it was the right thing to do for Malée. It be like that sometimes; things change. Accepting that you don’t know it all is part of being a successful business woman, and it keeps you humble.

Shortly afterwards, Zeze invited four of the smartest people she knew to South Africa to give her what felt like her own personal Business School crash course. Ladies, this point is key —build on your strengths but also make sure you’ve filled major skills gaps, there’s nothing wrong with needing a bit of help.

A true mogul never stays down for long

After two years of hustling hard to bring Malée into the UK, it will now be stocked at some of the largest, most influential retailers: Harvey Nichols and Fenwick.

A good hustle isn’t enough to get your products in stores though, you also need a unique product, and for Malée, their high-quality, healthy, authentic African-inspired range is what made all the difference.

Get to know desperation

Sounds crazy right? Get to know desperation, so that you can ignore it. Too many times we let desperation drive us to making the wrong choices.

Being able to tell when desperation is driving you instead of passion and common sense will save you time, money, and maybe some tears too.

Stay inspired and completely focused on your goal: that is what will sustain you when things get really tough.

We couldn’t leave this post without talking about the CA$H

Capital is one of the major things on any entrepreneur’s mind, after all there’s a lot we can do with money. We all dream of getting that magical cheque that will sort everything out, but Zeze suggests it’s best to start with what you have now.

Save all that you can, be smart with your money and even if you can only make one product, one is enough to sell and test whether people actually want to buy your stuff.

One sale might just lead to someone pre-ordering a large quantity, but you never know unless you try. It’s called bootstrapping my friend, and most times, having limited resources actually helps us to make better choices.