Mokgadi Mabela is the bee lady whose love for good honey has set her on a path of building a legacy. She speaks to Athandiwe Saba about her genius dad, late introduction to bees and her club DJing skills. A sweet combination.
What is the most important thing you have learned as a businesswoman to date?
Currently, it’s just resilience. Look, there are so many things that you need to run a business. But I think when the honeymoon phase stops, it comes down to the business of remaining sustainable and growing.
It’s not fun: it’s challenging. You ask: “Must I die like this? Can I just leave it and just relax, and just do a nine to five every day?”
Especially in the past year, with the opening of our shop, when sometimes you’re not sure if you’re going to make rent or if you’re going to be able to pay your staff.
I think the only thing that has kept me going so far is resilience.
What is it like to stand in your shop and experience these emotions?
There’s a lot of anxiety. I know that after opening the shop for the first six months, I lost so much weight. I couldn’t sleep, because you are thinking while you’re sleeping. I would wake up in a panic, thinking, “Did I do this? Did I call that person? Did I pay this person? Did I remember to send that email?”
I had to go to the doctor and get sleeping tablets, because I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating. But, I don’t think you can avoid that as a business person: it’s just about you getting used to new circumstances. It’s weird and may sound like a cliché, but also, I swear to God, every time I act in faith, things come through.