Making great strides in a male-dominated industry

2015-08-06 06:01
                                                                        PHOTO: yolanda nxumalo

Nombuso Mtolo is the owner of Umhlabomuhle Funeral Services.

PHOTO: yolanda nxumalo Nombuso Mtolo is the owner of Umhlabomuhle Funeral Services.

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TAPPING into a male-dominated industry was never easy for female funeral parlour owner who today is making great strides in the industry. With August being Women’s Month, NOKULUNGA NGOBESE spoke to Nombuso Mtolo who owns Umhlabomuhle Funeral Services which has branches in Richmond, Bulwer, Hopewell, Pietermaritzburg and the France area.

Prompted by seeing poverty stricken families being unable to give their loved ones a descent funeral, Mtolo left the catering industry, which she had worked in for more than five years, to open a funeral parlour in 2013. She currently has nine employees.

“Having worked in the catering industry for a few years, I felt something was lacking. When we used to cater for funerals, I discovered that poverty stricken families had joined burial societies­, but those societies could only­ provide the basic needs such as coffins and tents, and in addition to that, families had to hire their own catering­ companies.

“I started a funeral parlour to bridge that gap by providing a full package to bereaved families, at an affordable price. I also established branches in areas where they would be within the community’s reach instead of having to go to town.”

Although Mtolo has been in the business for two years, she said it has not been easy as she is still looked down upon because of her gender.

Mtolo said while dealing with such a business is not easy as she is sometimes approached by clients who have nothing, she makes a point of ensuring that her clients do not leave the office unassisted. Married to Mhlaba Mtolo with two children, she said while her business takes up most of her time, she makes sure she balances her time between work and family.

“Growing up, my mother was a working woman and even if she came home late, she would still find time to do chores, which is something I learnt from her,” she said. As women we should not forget where we come from, but we should not let that hinder our progress. Coming from a poor background should not make you look down on yourself. Instead it should be motivation to strive for better. There are also women who forget their role in society because of wealth, which should not be the case. Women should involve themselves in community development projects and stand out in their communities because they are nurturers. They must make it a point that from the little they have, they should share it with those less fortunate.”

Mtolo said in the next five years she hopes to have expanded her business to other provinces.

“My long-term goal is to establish a fund that will help poverty stricken families give their loved ones descent funerals.”

On 30 August Umhlabomunye Funeral­ Services will host a wellness and financial education campaign at its head office in the France area

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