Around the time when natural hair products were infiltrating local stores, and healthy Afros were a sought-after commodity among black women, the name Ntombenhle Khathwane also started popping up in hair conversations and news.
This was around 2016, when Khathwane’s popular haircare brand AfroBotanics had just made it to the Pick n Pay and Game shelves after years of knocking on the doors of many local retail giants. However, the backstory is that Khathwane had been making giant strides to break into the haircare industry from as early as 2009 — a move that saw her give up a stable job in government and invest her R250 000 pension fund payout into a business idea that is now paying off handsomely.
“I registered AfroBotanics in 2011, experimented with different formulas and bought stock — that was the start of a very hectic entrepreneurial journey.”
READ MORE: A true beauty boss
“I graduated from varsity with a degree in politics, philosophy and economics in 1999. At the time, I was inspired by Thabo Mbeki’s African Renaissance dream and drive to build this amazing Africa. My first job was in government, where I did research, strategic planning and policy analysis — I stayed there for eight years. I went into government wanting to help contribute to building this African dream, but the experience turned out to be uninspiring instead. I found government to be this huge bureaucratic machine where people weren’t interested in new ways of doing things,” Khathwane shares.