By CELANI SIKHAKHANE
A KwaZulu-Natal woman who bought the now famous Durban filling station on Che Guevara Road has praised recently departed King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. This after the support she, and other young women received from his Majesty in growing their businesses.
Thandi MaThabethe Ngxongo, who is a gender equality activist, said the late King of the Zulu nation offered them invaluable support and advice.
“We used to have business events in different areas and we would invite King Zwelithini to grace our events. He would come and present us with a cow as a gift. We are thankful for his Majesty’s support and the passion he had about the success of young women,” she said.
Ngxongo started her business with these women and they never looked back. She said she bought the BP Garage on her own without any political connections.
“I bought this fuel station through a family Trust that I solely chair. It was my dream to buy a fuel station since it is a business that is mostly dominated by males. I want to show young woman especially those from rural areas that anything is possible if you keep your mind to what you dream about.
“I’m very passionate about the development of women, that is why I have emphasis on their skills development and education,” Ngxongo said.
In 2019 she completed her MBA with Cum Laude from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. And while doing research for her thesis, she discovered that about only 4% of women are in this business but they are not 100% owners.
“It’s high time as women to support each other so that we could build this economy.”
Ngxongo has worked more than 16 years at Engen Refinery, where she was a national Health Safety Environment Quality Business Partner Manager (HSEQ). She also spoke fondly of the activities that are usually taking place in her filling station.
“You know there were lot of relationships that were started from this filling station. I therefore have no intention to change its style which has attracted many people over the years.
“Trust me, even ‘the Combo’ (chicken and chips) that is mostly famous to those who always come to the filling station from night clubs in the middle of the night will stay the same,” Ngxongo said.
She employs more than 50 people at her fuel station and this has made her very proud. She is also the proud owner of Thandi’s Kitchen which specialises in African cuisine on Bartle Road in Glenwood.