Msinga businesswoman uplifts her community

2018-09-26 06:01
Lelly Mntungwa.

Lelly Mntungwa.

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A BURNING desire to do more to uplift her community led Lelly Mntungwa to resign as a retail store manager — a position she held for 10 years — and instead start her own business.

The 38-year-old from Msinga, a rural community in the uMzinyathi District Municipality, saw a gap in the market when a leading retailer closed down and established a clothing factory.

In an effort to reduce the unemployment rate and poverty in the area, she grabbed the opportunity to empower the Msinga community through job creation and skills capacitation.

“In my community, young girls being abducted and forced into marriage even at the age of 16 is commonplace, as is dropping out of school to run child-headed families.

“The situation compelled me to intervene and develop these ‘young wives’ through skills transfer,” said Mntungwa.

She added that a partnership with the Department of Higher Education had been forged to assist pupils dropping out of school to complete their matric at no cost and 216 pupils were already part of the programme.

Without any financial assistance, she began her entrepreneurial journey and now affords more than 60 people a living.

Mntungwa has a national Diploma in Marketing from Damelin and undertook various courses aimed at capacitating herself in the areas of clothing and textile and leather processing.

The mother of two was raised by a single parent and has four siblings.

She completed her primary and secondary school education at Domino Servite School in Kranskop. Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), whose mandate is to promote KZN as an investment destination, provided Mntungwa with much needed support and business guidance.

“The turning point in my career was in 2016 when TIKZN did an uMzinyathi District Municipality roadshow. I was given an opportunity as an up-and-coming entrepreneur to deliver a presentation at the roadshow.”

She said she has obtained a wealth of knowledge from TIKZN about the clothing and textiles industry in which she works.

“The success and growth of my business will have a positive impact on the local economy as Msinga is one of the poorest parts of KZN.”

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