A formidable Komani businesswoman, Minty Makapela-Nonstele, whose business is blossoming with the opening of the first Proclean franchise in Whittlesea last week, calls for women to stand together and support one another like the women of 1956 did.
The 1956 reference refers to an important march on August 9 when South African women marched in protest against the introduction of apartheid pass laws for black women.
While many businesses have closed their doors due to Covid-19-related restrictions, Makapela-Nonstele’s business acumen has led her to affording others the opportunity to run businesses under her brand, Proclean.
“The franchise idea came after a fellow woman in business showed interest in my detergents business. Operations started last week and we will be supplying the franchise with our SABS approved products which I had undergone training for, when I started the business a few years ago. This is the start of bigger things to come because we are now open for other people looking to operate a business under the trusted Proclean brand.”
Proclean manufactures and supplies cleaning detergents, offers disinfection and anti-microbial fogging solutions, and the sale of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Makapela-Nontsele, who is big on supporting other local businesses, also runs the Whittlesea-based Silulo Ulutho Technologies franchise, the founder of which is also from Komani.
However, she indicated that being a woman in business was not all rosy as there was still the “pull her down syndrome” from other women.
“Being a woman in business is not easy because women face many obstacles like being looked down upon if you hold a position of power, which our male counterparts do not experience. Women have not been supporting each other for the longest time, but I believe we are working on bettering ourselves and the situation is slowly improving as woman empowerment conversations have come to light.”
Makapela-Nontsele indicated that when she started the business she received support from government and that, at the time, there were not as many small businesses as there are now.
She also doubles as the provincial deputy chairperson of the Black Management Forum (BMF) and her advice to young women is to take after the women of 1956 and believe in what they want to achieve.
“Young women need to stay true to themselves, stand firm, not get distracted, surround themselves with like-minded people, know what they want and believe in it. To me Women’s Month means I am not alone. The historic march of 1956 was the turning point in the role of women in the fight for freedom because since then, women from all walks of life have become partners in the fight for a non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.”
Makapela-Nontsele said the same effort and co-operation were needed in the fight against the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV).
“GBV is sickening, appalling and there is no excuse for it. We all are affected by it, one way or another. Men need to change their mindset which may be difficult because they were brought up with the attitude to go for what they want. Most were brought up in abusive families where it seemed okay to watch their mothers being abused, so I guess we cannot expect them to change overnight. However, the men now are responsible to teach their sons about how to be better humans. They could start by establishing talkshops with high school boys and guide them towards becoming good men in society.
“The ‘Take a girl child to work day’ initiative is something they can partake in with their boy children so that the next generation does not have to deal with the same issues we are dealing with.”