Nomcebo Dlamini – Swaziland

Nomcebo Dlamini – Swaziland

Date: June 30, 2015
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Nomcebo Dlamini is an entrepreneur from Sidwashini South in Mbabane. She sews dresses for plus-sized women for a living. She aspires to own a business that will specialise in dressing plus-sized people, especially women as well as the physically challenged. Besides sewing, Dlamini was nominated by the people of Mbabane East under Swadishini in the last Swaziland elections but lacked resources to campaign to the next stage of the elections.

Dlamini says her will to sew grew when saw a gap in the market after seeing that most clothing in retail shops chose their ranges and focused on normal and lean women. As a plus-sized woman who is also physically challenged, she knows of the huddles and challenges plus-sized women face when it comes to dressing themselves.

“My dream is to dress people like me so they can be comfortable in their bodies and have the confidence to lift their heads high. Looking good is feeling good and as a plus-sized woman who is also disabled, I know what would make another woman like me feel good and also look comfortable in,” says Dlamini.

Dlamini met Gender Links through a series of entrepreneurship workshops that taught participants how to develop business plans. “Gender Links came to teach us about business plans. They catered for us even if we did not have a plan but a vision for the business they wanted to develop. About 20 of us participated in this initiative. Through this I have been empowered and gained knowledge on how I can improve my business plan. I can talk confidently and know how to approach people in business. I want to register my business and get a license and be able to get tenders. Business has to be serious,” she added.

Dlamini presented her business plan at the Swaziland Gender Protocol Summit and later at the Regional summit in May 2014. She says she is lucky to have gotten this far with Gender Links, and it was a mixture of her determination to get recognition, and the opportunity to have a voice that Gender Links afforded her through the summit. “I am happy that GL is giving us these platforms. I wish GL would also have the capacity to help us with finances for these businesses to start up. This is the big challenge. We need need tools to start our businesses. If we go to the banks to borrow money, sometimes we are disqualified easily because of a disability. Finances are the major drawback for us to move forward.”

Through her achievements, Dlamini has been able to go back to where she started to encourage and show other physically challenged women that they can make it as long as they put their heart into what they are doing. “I have to be there to tell them not to give up and to show them that disability is not inability. “I just want to show the world that despite my size and my disability, I can make something for myself using my hands. Sewing is something that I like and making a living out of it is my dream,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini notes that it is not only in business where she fights for recognition. As she stood for elections Dlamini was fighting for the physically challenged to be represented in parliament. “We cannot talk about vision 2020 or any other area of development when a section of the population is left behind.” Her wish is to have her company registered and operational soon, and she hopes eventually to have a sewing school where she can empower and train people like her to sew.


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