CAPE TOWN. – Mathilda Fakazi suffered gender-based violence years ago but overcame its depressing impact to become the owner of Tilly’s shopping, catering and events management in Masiphumelele, a multi-layered company that employs women who were previously jobless.
She is more than a shop owner, she is a visionary, an inspirational community leader, and she creates employment for other women from vulnerable communities.
Fakazi’s NPC – Visionary Can Ladies Community – also runs a soup kitchen in Masiphumelele with the help of 1000 Women Trust where she feeds 200 people twice a day for five days a week.
She is the proud owner of a buying and selling business that buys on-line from shops in Durban, Gauteng and even overseas and sell in bulk.
Fakazi also runs a catering business that provides meals for events or for families.
Furthermore, she is an event- and wedding planner that can offer couples a full boutique of services – including bean the master of ceremonies, as well as organizing the venue and the food.
Fakazi employs unemployed women who are part of her NPC to work for her in her different businesses so that these women can put food on the table.
She also utilizes the services of these women in a different capacity – to do cleaning and sanitizing for families who hire her firm.
“How did I start a business. Well my parents taught me business skills from a tender age. Then there were people who inspired me, like Tina Thiart (founder member of 1000 Women Trust). Tina mentored me and also encouraged me not to rely on only one stream of income. Then I also learned from HGG Academy’s courses.
“I have networked with other women and with visionary business leaders, like Tina. I have also done training like the trauma training course of 1000 Women Trust and those networks helped me to regain self-confidence and grow as a business leader.
“Because of the influence of other business-women around me, I have so much confidence now that I feel that anything I put my head on, I can achieve.
“If women want to start a business, they must have a commitment and they must just start. They must have a business idea, but they must put it into action. It is of no use to have a million ideas in your head, without starting,” she added.
Nomonde Ngwenyana suffered immense pain at the hands of an abusive former boyfriend, but she has become one of Nyanga-East’s proudest business-owners.
Her fish and chips shop – run from her own kitchen – is called Small Beginnings. Not only does she sell fish and chips, but also Amagaga – chicken chunks.
With the income she generates, she runs soup kitchens twice a week – with 300 people fed on each occasion.
She partially depends on other soup kitchens around her to help finance the food every week. Some days, these kitchens would provide produce like potatoes to assist her.
The confidence to start her own business came about because she was part of an income-generating project at Etaseni Day Care Centre Trust from 2001. “After more than a decade, I developed wings and started flying,” she said.
She also does beading and sewing at her home and trains young students to do work for and with her.
“I overcame my personal setbacks with gender-based violence by doing the trauma training course of 1000 Women Trust,” she says.
“One of the most important life lessons that I learned throughout my life is not to get discouraged, and also to share with people around me,” said Ngwenyana, who has been one of 1000 Women Trust’s #HearmeToo-facilitators.