Pretoria – Emerging from the Covid-19 lockdown which devastated many businesses and almost decimated their African jewellery and beading business, Mamelodi entrepreneurs Phindile Msiza, 34, and Rinah Mtshwene, 45, have regrouped.
The duo have added stylish masks, among the array of products on display.
Their enterprising stall was part of the #MamsMallHeritageDayMarket which brought several small local entrepreneurs showcasing “the best in authentic, handmade crafts, delicious gourmet food” and lively entertainment characteristic to Mamelodi.
Msiza said their fledgling business, officially registered as PR Designs and Accessories had been supplying traditional beading, hats, purses, belts, shoes and necklaces and got a timely boost with the mandatory introduction of masks and the easing of lockdown prohibitions on social gatherings announced recently by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“I do remember that when the hard lockdown was announced amid the Covid-19 pandemic, we thought we would lose our business.
“Before the lockdown, we had established ourselves in this area. We had launched our business PR Designs and Accessories and the PR stands for Phindile and Rinah. We are ambitious black women who believe that through working hard, we can also make it in life,” said Msiza.
“Now that we are allowed to trade again, we are really thankful and our business is starting to pick up again. We are happy because we have surely sailed through the most difficult phase, and we are elated to be trading again. The addition of masks means we also contribute in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, while eking out a living for our families.”
Msiza said national days like Heritage Day were important markers in her line of work because apart from trading, entrepreneurs also played a part in preserving South Africa’s rich, diverse culture.
“We have just not had our major breakthrough, but when it comes to style, that is our business. We style people and produce African accessories which can give anyone a make-over. We have traditional accessories which suit different tastes and Heritage Day presents a unique opportunity for us to not only trade, but play a part in preserving our traditions. We cannot forget where we are coming from or going,” said Msiza.
“Even as the Covid-19 pandemic has lessened significantly, we still have to be responsible and wear masks. Why not incorporate style in that mask? We design masks which are stylish, and can match one’s attire as the economy is now opening up and people are allowed to go for social gatherings but with their masks on.”
Mtshwene said entrepreneurs in the townships could do better with increased government funding and opportunities.
“We have a vision to grow our business and create jobs. There are numerous unemployed people in Mamelodi who need jobs. If funding opportunities are availed, we see ourselves growing this business and competing nationally. From our products, we send a message that African is not synonymous with inferior. We promote and showcase our Ndebele culture and we play a critical role in preserving our traditions and heritage,” she said.
“We have evolved with the times in styling African attires. Now of late people want to ‘Africanise’ their watches, shoes, bags, phone pouches. We work to provide whatever our clients need.
“Challenges do not derail us but embolden us to keep moving towards our goals. We are happy with the support we have received from the community members and all South Africans who interact with us on our social media page.”
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African News Agency (ANA)