Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
The great powers of creativity, resilience and extraordinary storytelling of WOMEN have created stories that exemplify the ultimate strength of femininity while bringing beauty to their special lives.
Women work tirelessly to structure their thoughts and superpowers as they struggle to make ends meet and fiercely create history in their own culture.
For women in particular, their stories can be even more unique and impactful as they face various challenges explicitly related to their gender, such as misperceptions about their skill sets.
Several approaches taken by tenacious female entrepreneurs have created strong waves in the business community, laying a solid foundation for boundless creativity.
Such is the story of Bulawayo entrepreneur, Ms. Patscencia Vundla (45), who started as a waitress before going into her own business in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Growing up in a rural settlement in Solusi, Matabeleland South Province, Ms Vundla had a difficult upbringing, albeit one punctuated with resilience, determination and hope.
After her father’s death at a tender age, she was raised by her grandparents and was inspired by her grandfather, a peasant who, despite working a small plot of land, earned his living decently through subsistence farming.
After completing her O-Level education, Ms Vundla traveled to South Africa where she got a job as a waitress, working her way up to become a shop manager at the age of 23.
She then moved to the UK where she worked in menial jobs while continuing her education until she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Warwick in 2014.
While in the UK, she decided to start her own traditional butcher and food business in Coventry and Wolverhampton.
In 2019, she decided to return home and start her own business, channeling her passion for cooking into a thriving business.
Today, she is the proud owner of True Elegance restaurants, whose cuisine has taken the city by storm with its traditional dishes and personalized service.
Last year, the restaurant was named the best restaurant in the country at the Hospitality Awards.
Ms. Vundla also operates an event management company and is also a tour operator, offering local and international excursions. It also owns a farm and a lodge, employing a total of 100 people.
She loves her entrepreneurial journey and believes the sky is the limit.
“There was a lot of skepticism from my friends in the UK when I told them I was planning to invest back home and I almost gave up on my plans. Companies have no prejudice when it comes to creativity and new innovations, that’s why I decided to pursue my projects,” she said.
Thanks to her impressive inventions, Ms. Vundla, a mother of four, decided to expand her business and diversify her investments.
So far she has three restaurants in Bulawayo, Beitbridge and Lupane.
“We started as a small business but grew to have three branches in Bulawayo, Beitbridge and Lupane and created direct employment for over 50 people and 100 indirectly. Our main focus varies from being an upscale restaurant where we serve only the finest delicious and elegant dishes, both traditional and western,” Ms. Vundla said.
“We have the best private dining rooms, outdoor and take-out services. As women entrepreneurs, is it important to sweep away traditional norms that women cannot pioneer successful start-ups? »
Ms Vundla said the challenge she faced on returning home was the disruption from Covid-19.
“It wasn’t easy because there was no business activity and during that time I also got so sick that I thought I was going to die. After recovering from my illness, I opened my first True Elegance restaurant, located on 1st Avenue and Joshua Nkomo Street in Bulawayo.
As a female entrepreneur, Ms. Vundla believes women can achieve anything they want with the right mindset and goals.
As part of Mother’s Day yesterday, Ms Vundla organized a special event for mothers in the Bulawayo suburb of Fourwinds, where they were treated to lunch, among other activities. — @mashnets