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29 Untold stories in 29 Days Campaign (active) #100conversations projects (active)
NB: Every Wednesday and Friday please be on the lookout for female Entrepreneurs!
The coming months, content that will be explored are stories of female entrepreneurs in Africa. 100 Female entrepreneur’s stories will be published from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Angola.
Meet Zanele Diniso from South Africa.
Who is Zanele and where are you from?
My name is Zanele Diniso from Gqeberha. I am the youngest daughter of the late Nomalady and Dennis Diniso. I am a mother to a beautiful 3-year-old girl. Entrepreneurship is in me. There were times where I thought and actually left Entrepreneurship however, I found myself back at the hands of my company Periwinkle. This path chose me and kept choosing me a number of times.
After matric I studied Law and later dropped out and worked at a Call Centre that too did not last long. I left that job and started an NPO called, ‘Nankumntwana Adopt a Learning Child Programme’. While busy with Nakumntwana, I founded Periwinkle Group on 27 December 2012. I served my time at Nakumntwana. I resigned and solely focused on building myself and my company. I am passionate about helping those that are less fortunate whether through a Non-Profit Organisation or in my company.
What is the inspiration behind Periwinkle Domestics?
It started off as wanting to help women to get employed and be employable. In most cases or organisations when one does not have a Matric certificate, they are not employable. However, we have those family members without Matric certificates, or we see them in our communities. Some are mothers’, others need to take care of their siblings but have not Matriculated. That is how Periwinkle Home Executives started, we also travel to the rural areas to make sure that these women also have a voice.
How has the journey been like establishing the Periwinkle Domestics (highs and lows)?
It has had many of lows in the past more than the highs. It has been challenging and truly bringing me face to face with self-awareness. It has been a journey that at some point needed my consent. It is like a calling you don’t just do it even though you are called for it, one needs to consent as well to it. There were times when I wanted to give up.
Lack of self-confidence and confidence in business is a reality? How did you manage to overcome the lack of confidence in business?
Confidence starts by you knowing whose child you are. Where you are from and my clan names that have helped me to be still in the midst of the storms. It has given me strength to move on when I felt like giving up. To realise that the journey is real and each and everyone has their own lane. Reading books that help me stay positive has been the greatest blessing ever. Self-confidence is needed.
Have you ever encountered any gender bias in business? If so, how did you deal with it?
Nope, it is still about colour because of the colour of my skin some people think I should charge less because I am not ‘white enough’ or I’m even doubted. I am doubted for what I can say and can do. In fact, even in the companies of those that are ‘white enough’ it is those that are black skinned that clean the toilet and scrub the floors.
Did COVID-19 impact your operations, if so how?
Yes, both good and bad. I had to let go of a certain service and start providing a product and restructure how I can provide a service again. It has brought about a line expansion.
According to BusinessToday (2019) “80% of women who own small/micro scale business ventures have a hard time getting credit”.
Please speak to the above in relation to Periwinkle?
I have never tried applying for credit I save for what I would like to buy.
Why is it important for young female entrepreneurs to be empowered?
Because we still fighting for our skin colour. Being empowered about the line of business one is in will help them excel. Therefore, being able to negotiate from a business compliance point then proving that one’s skin is not actually black but brown, not brown but bronze. When you are empowered you know how to address such issues politely without raising your voice but letting your work do the talking.
Family, friends, work and health. How do you meet a balance and still remain sane?
I don’t keep my struggles to myself I talk about them to those close to me and seek advice. I have also learnt that seeing a therapist is not a bad thing at all.
Words of wisdom to young female entrepreneurs in Africa considering entrepreneurship full time.
When you find yourself ‘in- between’ not sure whether to stay or go rather take a break. In that, break pray and the answer will soon come to you. And keep up with current affairs so you see how your business will compete in the changing market.
How can we connect with you? (Social media handles and website)
Company website: www.periwinklegroup.co.za
Facebook: Zan Qhawekazi Diniso
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