'We will rebuild' – KwaZulu-Natal salon owner devastated after business looted

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Happy Ndovela Mngadi is reeling after her salon was vandalized and looted.
Happy Ndovela Mngadi is reeling after her salon was vandalized and looted.

A couple of shelves, two posters and debris all over  that's all that is left of her business.

She had been in business for just under a year and now has to start over after looters broke into her salon and took everything that wasn't nailed down. 

She's not letting it get her down though and will rebuild, even if she has to live lean for a few months. 

Happy Ndovela Mngadi (34) has a salon in Port Edward, or she did before looters took it apart. 

She's devastated. 

“It has not even been a year operating and now, us, as business owners are suffering because the community that we wanted to help decided not to protect what they were given,” she tells Drum.

There have been mass protests in three provinces in South Africa since the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma. 

Looters spared no business as they broke into chain stores as well as the small and medium businesses. 

And unlike the bigger businesses, Happy doesn't have insurance to rely on. She's going to have to rebuild the business out of her own pocket. 

"I am in anguish and disappointed at the same time. I trusted my community "

Read more | Looting could impact cost of insurance in the long term, warns Santam 

The married mother of three boys moved from KwaNzimakwe in KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg after finishing her tertiary education to work for a law firm.

She found that there was a salon in every corner in Johannesburg and decided to open her business back home, even though she continued to work in the City of Gold. 

“After moving to Johannesburg my mind started to open. I saw young people working, changing their jobs and opening businesses, which is something I have always liked because I used to sell candy when I was at school,” she tells Drum.

She wanted to uplift her community by opening her business in her hometown.

“In December 2019 when we went home for holidays, I noted they were building and adding shops in Port Edward, a small town five minutes from my house.

“I decided to go and find out which company it was because I instantly knew I want my salon there. There weren't any modern salons at home and the youth in my community is unemployed, so I decided to open a salon, hire them, and give them 40% commission,” she tells us.

To start her business, Happy saved her salary and her husband contributed to fund her dream.

She opened the salon, Sacred Halo, in August 2020. Almost a year later, the dream is in pieces.

The aftermath of the looting.
The aftermath of the looting.

A heartbroken Happy says she is angry.

“I am in anguish and disappointed at the same time. I trusted my community members because they know me, and everyone is aware that the salon belongs to me,” she tells us.

She wasn't insured, she says. “I didn’t think that this could happen and to fix the shop I will have to again take my salary.”

Read more | #UnrestSA: Uneasy calm restored in KwaZulu-Natal after days of bedlam

It has only been a few days since the incident occurred and Happy is already thinking about what needs to be done to have it up and running again. 

“It is wrong for the people to vandalise and loot off the small things our country has built. What is going to happen now? Where they will get food, petrol etc?” Happy asks.

But the resilient business owner says she will get her business up and running again. 

“I have never been a quitter in my life, and I will never be one. I would rather go hungry for months than to let my dream be taken away by short-sighted individuals who are not thinking about the future.

“It was not easy to start and it won’t be easy to re-build again because I do not have savings but I will be using my salary to re-start again and I don’t know for how long it will take,” she says defiantly.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24