It is in growing her own natural hair for the past 15 years that Thokozile Mangwiro found her inspiration to create a natural hair care product line. After going to several salons and an endless search of locally produced products that truly work for afro natural hair, it was clear that there was a HUGE gap in the market for professionally formulated products for natural hair. Thokozile, like many other women, struggled with extremely dry hair. This and the lack of knowledge led to intense research and experimentation of natural ingredients such as Shea butter and avocado oil for skin and hair.

Women Entrepreneurs in Africa
Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

Thokozile Mangwiro is an Information Technology Masters graduate from the University of South Africa, with over 8 years’ experience in the database administration, analysis and intelligence industry. She is a wife and mother of two energetic boys, Anesu and Omari. She is born and bred in South Africa, Johannesburg. A budding entrepreneur, she is driven and passionate by empowering and inspiring other women to feel naturally beautiful through products that are made in South Africa, are of the highest quality, are beautiful and luxurious, to showcase to the world.

  • Why do you believe in championing women?

Simply because women a nurturing in nature! They do not only serve themselves when they are empowered and skilled. They are extremely hardworking and multitasking!

When you empower a women, you in effect empower an community!

  • How has the journey been so far?

An academic career driven person, to an entrepreneur has been life changing! I have enjoyed every single moment of doing everything different, and seeing life from a different perspective. I have seen amazing successes and humbling moments. The people I interact with, that teach you more about life than academics could, has been so pleasurable.

The journey is hard, at time lonely, but so worth it when you see the results of an project you have worked on.

I think social entrepreneurship’s primary goal is to elevate poverty and injustice, through innovative and transformation. It brings structured and sustainable social change in places that would have otherwise just remained destitute.

Thokozile Mangwiro of Nyla Naturals
Thokozile Mangwiro of Nyla Naturals
  • What would you pick as your key milestones?

Leaving my job to focus on my business.

  • Parts of Africa are known to be very progressive for women, and others, very regressive – how do you put these together for building the continent’s perception?

You create or join movements such Lionesses of Africa, a platform that bring women together from all forms of life to share their entrepreneurial journey. I do understand that not everyone has access to the internet, however, internet usage is the fastest growing platform in Africa. It is the most effect way to communicate from one country to multiple.

It is our hope that this message is spread across the continent, even to women without access privileges to the internet.

  • What kind of support have you seen in your journey towards empowering women?

South Africa is consciously promoting entrepreneurship in general, in order to stimulate the economy to grow at a higher rate. There are several women focused funding initiatives.

I was personally chosen by an organization called SHE by Spark. They focus on funding social entrepreneurs who impact women. In my case, it is based around empowering rural women through skills development and income generation.

  • Feminism to you is…

The empowerment and inspiration of other women.

I as an African women, am exposed to understanding my political, economical, personal and social equality. I am aware of my rights in the world I live in; however many African women suffer and struggle under male dominance.

Feminism to me is the movement away from male dominance and self-made rules that are created to suppress women’s rights to be equal in the worlds they live in.

  • What do you believe is common to women of emerging countries?

We all seem to struggle with access to markets and funding structures. These two topics plague women from Nigeria to Botswana to Senegal. We are also not taken seriously until we actually succeed [which is relative of course].

  • What would be your advice be to your younger self?

Know that you are capable of anything you put your mind to. As an IT Masters Graduate and now a Social Entrepreneur, people see me as intelligent and highly capable of anything. Growing up shy and introverted, I have always struggled with viewing myself as someone who could succeed in a male driven industry; even more, be a founder of a business. I wish I had believed in myself a lot earlier.

  • How does social entrepreneurship help bring about reforms?

I think social entrepreneurship’s primary goal is to elevate poverty and injustice, through innovative and transformation. It brings structured and sustainable social change in places that would have otherwise just remained destitute.

Social entrepreneurship empowers less fortunate participants through financial value creation. For instance, a farmland that produces oils that are used across the world, can benefits the citizens that live in that region. This is hardly ever the case in Africa. 70% of the worlds Cocoa is found in Africa [in Ghana’s backyards], yet the benefits of what it produces [e.g. Lindt Chocolate] benefits foreign countries.

A social entrepreneur with skills and exposure is capable of bringing regional reform! It’s amazing.

  • What would be your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

Be persistent and preserver! Do not be deterred by rejections… focus on your end goal and fight to reach it.