Cape Town – The ultra-modern Woodstock Exchange building in the heart of one of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town, stands out in a charcoal grey with splashes of bright yellow on Albert Street.
With the word “INSPIRE” painted in a bold black as you make your way through, the space catches your attention immediately and leaves you feeling curious – creative impulses slowly making themselves known.
('INSPIRE': Woodstock Exchange. Photo: Bashiera Parker)
So when the Duchess of Sussex met with a group of inspiring female entrepreneurs, gathered by Shirley Gilbey, Director of the UK-SA Tech Hub, at WEX, I wasn’t surprised when I left feeling encouraged – motivated.
(HER ROYAL HIGHNESS: Duchess Meghan Markle laughs with the women at Woodstock Exchange. Photo: Bashiera Parker)
In a small room on the fifth floor, I was lucky enough to witness the exchange between Her Royal Highness and 12 women who are changing the world as we know it.
With the goal of creating opportunities for empowerment through network building between aspiring female entrepreneurs, each woman got to introduce themselves and spoke about what it is they’re doing to influence change, while the duchess listened, engaged, and laughed.
(BEAMING: Matsi Modise. Photo: Bashiera Parker)
I managed to speak to bubbly and beautiful Matsi Modise, the founder of a company called Furaha Afrika Holdings focused on building human capital which includes recruitment, skills training and employee benefits, to name a few.
"Africa needs a skills revolution," she told me, which inspires her every day to do what she does. "My company, Furaha, which means ‘happy’ in Swahili, is how we are going to empower Africans with the necessary tools and skills to build its own economies.
"It’s our time," she said.
When I asked Matsi what it was like shaking hands with Duchess Meghan, she said, "I still can’t believe it, I’m not going to wash this hand for a very long time.
"Phenomenal human being, flawless," she gushed.
"She has an African heart, and she has the power of influence. Her roots come from Africa. I believe this is a time in our lives where we’re going to see real impact."
HRH Matsi, as she saved her name on my phone, spoke about one of the many profound things the duchess spoke about.
She recalled her saying, "Usually when you’re the first one to climb a mountain, the fall is normally harder, the push back is normally harder. She really looked at us and said, well, you just need to keep on going, keep on pushing because this vision is beyond ourselves."
Before we said our goodbyes I asked Matsi what it was she said that left Her Royal Highness in stitches.
She threw her head back and laughed once more as she explained the one thing you wouldn’t find on her LinkedIn profile.
"I love fast cars and I smoke cigars."
"What did she say when you said that?" I asked, unable to contain myself either at that point.
"She was just like, 'My goodness. This is interesting.' She was quite shocked because it’s definitely not something you’d expect," Matsi said.
"But she was like, 'Keep on going, girl.'"