Bongiwe Thela has been running her business Toda Products since she was a student, when she started selling water at events. The company has gone from strength to strength and now specialises in products ranging from personal protective equipment to corporate clothing and gifts; mechanical and electrical equipment; mining equipment and consumables.
She expanded into the engineering space when she saw a gap in the mining market and realised there was a shortage of experienced women who understood mining and could supply quality products and services. “Today, it proves that, as a young, black girl, it is possible if you believe and work hard,” she says of the success of her business.
Bongiwe aspires to grow the company nationally and internationally and employ more young people. Toda Products has been featured in several publications as well as on SABC 1. Bongiwe, 26, says growing up an only child and a loner “made me be strong and stand up for myself and my own life.
It taught me to get things done.” She would advise her younger self: “Don’t fear as fear can hold one back. Be bold and courageous. Grab every opportunity with both hands.” Bongiwe would like to see “a united South Africa, a fair South Africa where everyone gets equal opportunities”.
- Management Development, Wits Business School
- Diploma in Business Management, Nkangala Tvet College
- Project management, Sherq, supply chain certificate, University of Limpopo
- Export training from DTI
- Entrepreneurship training from NYDA, NEF and SEDA
- #TEA Annual 2019 pitch winner
- Featured on SABC Come Again.
- Featured in Eskom Kusile newspaper, Witbank News, Middelburg Observer, Boss Lady Magazine, Rising Sun TV, Coal City News, Xpress Newspaper.
- Featured in Nkangala Tvet College Magazine
I was an only child and I was always a loner when growing up. So that made me be strong and stand up for myself and my own life. It has taught me to get things done and that I have no one in this world to take responsibility for my life and achieve what I can do for myself.
Don’t fear as fear can hold one back. Be bold and courageous. I must grab every opportunity with both hands.
I would like a united South Africa. A fair South Africa where everyone gets equal opportunities. I would like a South Africa where the employment rate would go down and for people to find jobs and there to be better economic growth.