Swaziland: Maggie Dlamini

Date: August 30, 2018
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Maggie Dlamini is a business woman from Mncitsini, Mbabane in the Hhohho region. She is a single mother of four children. She was born in a poor family, raised by her grandmother. Maggie is illiterate since she dropped out of school when she was in Grade 4. She makes a living by selling mealie-bread, petroleum jelly, handicraft and vegetables from her garden. Apart from this, Maggie is a member of Siyaphambili Co-operative which was formed by the Mbabane Municipality for the community women to help sustain their lives. They recycle waste into handicrafts and buy waste from the community and sell it to the scrap yard. They also make heap compost and grow seedlings which they sell to the community.   

The first time Maggie heard about Gender Links was in 2013 when the municipality chose women in the community who were survivors of abuse, to attend a workshop at Thokoza Church Centre which was hosted by Gender Links. They were asked to share their stories of abuse and were taught about gender based violence. They were also empowered to start businesses that will help them overcome GBV and still sustain their lives. 

 Maggie has learned a lot in her journey with Gender Links. She was invited to a workshop through the Mbabane Municipality, where she got a chance to relieve herself and talked about what she has been going through since she was taught about gender based violence. This gave her a clear picture of what she has been going through and gave her better understanding of what she needs to do to overcome it. 

She also attended another workshop where they were taught about bookkeeping and saving the money that they get from their businesses. She further stated that her encounter with GL has opened her mind to think on how to improve her skills in terms of her business and expand from where she is at the moment. She also appreciated the GL team especially the facilitator during the Entrepreneurship training that was held in 2014 where they were taught about using their hands in order to make a living and how they need to manage their book records which opened her eyes and they opened an account for the recycle business. Maggie recently joined the 2017 SADC Protocol @Work summit, where she was an applicant in the Emerging Entrepreneurs category. She stated that being part of the summit was not only because she wanted to win an award, but she wanted to network with other women in business, learn from others through interaction.  

Maggie Dlamini is no longer the same person from when she started her business. She went through so much in life and still conquered it all. Ever since she started her business, she has been able to send all her four children to school with the money she makes from her business. She has been able to build a home for herself and in that very same home, there are two rooms she is renting to tenants. Maggie has not only changed her life but has assisted others from the community through imparting her knowledge and skills of creating handicraft from the recycled waste. She has trained more than thirty people on recycling. She has even taught her children how to make money using their hands. During her spare time, she nurtures her garden, in which she grows vegetables and sell to her neighbours. Maggie uses every opportunity available to make money. She has now even started selling cooked meat which she sells to tenants around her area. 

Maggie is very thankful to Gender Links for teaching them about how to manage a business, especially the importance of saving. However, since Maggie did not go to school, she still lacks skills and knowledge of book keeping. She has little knowledge about record keeping and she says that she would love Gender Links to have another workshop where they (Gender Links) will teach them how to do record keeping for their businesses. Another improvement in Maggie’s life is that she has joined a savings cooperative where they save and collect their money at the end of the year.  

Because of her hypertensive condition, she wishes to retire from Siyaphambili and focus on her own business. In the near future, Maggie is looking forward to building more houses for tenants to rent. She also wants to expand the handicraft business and sell outside the country.