‘I am the most important person in my life and it is my responsibility to save myself, to take care of myself and to continue living,” is a mantra Matimba Glacia Makaringe, 33, lives by. The entrepreneur and motivational activist is the founder and owner of MissCourage, a perfume shop in Nkowankowa, Limpopo, that offers opportunities to women to learn about running a small business and manufacturing perfume.
She believes the shop’s success also gives people a way to restore hope and dignity through the provision of affordable and long-lasting fragrances and to inspire women to rise against all the odds and rebuild their lives. Fighting depression and post-traumatic stress after suffering second-degree burns and a miscarriage, Matimba was inspired to pursue perfume-making to disguise the burn-wound smell. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and hosts events where women are encouraged to be independent and to get out of unhealthy environments and relationships. Her initiative, The Sistapreneur, assists young women running informal businesses to formalise them, offering mentorship and coaching.
Matimba is a 2021 Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum alumna and has been celebrated for her tenacity and fighting spirit. She was nominated for The Noble Woman Resilient Woman of the Year 2021 and for the 2022 Manufacturing Founder of the Year awards. “I think children need to be taught life skills from a young age. The job market is not easily accessible, even with a degree,” she says.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
While going through a very difficult season, my mentor (Amu Rikhotso) reminded me that I am the most important person in my life and that it is my responsibility to save myself, to take care of myself and to continue living. Nobody is coming to save you, she said.
Our theme this year is Accelerating Equality & Empowerment in Women. How do you empower yourself and women around you?
I attend a lot of webinars and events for my personal development and to gain knowledge and confidence. I impart the knowledge I pick up along the way through motivational talks at events, radio interviews and other platforms I am given within the community.
If you could change or achieve one thing for South Africa today, what would it be?
The education system. I grew up believing that all I had to do in life was to go to school, get a degree, get a job and that was it. I think children now need to be taught life skills to sustain themselves from a young age. While education is important, the job market is not easily accessible even with a degree. I would introduce entrepreneurship lessons to schools.