Six businesswomen in Mzansi share their top tips for female professionals. Image via Instagram @retini @deirdreing6884

‘Don’t diminish your greatness’: Businesswomen share wise words

Communication, discovering your niche and more: Six Mzansi businesswomen share their advice for female professionals.


Six businesswomen in Mzansi share their top tips for female professionals. Image via Instagram @retini @deirdreing6884

Starting a business in South Africa and being a successful businessperson is not easy. These days, female businesswomen are still underpaid, undervalued and underestimated, but some of Mzansi’s top professionals are taking things into their own hands! As Women’s Month draws to a close, here is some valuable advice from some of South Africa’s top businesswomen. 

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Veronica Moleele, the CEO of Penguin Advertising Agency, says self-doubt is something that most businesspeople face. Molele says that finding a way to navigate through those feelings while keeping your eye on the prize is one thing that can take you to the next level. 

“We are so quick to judge ourselves and compare our progress or success to others. My advice is that you need to think of yourself as your only competitor. You know what you are doing and you will do it the only way that you know how – which is ultimately the best way for you,” said Molele. 

“Don’t listen to nay-sayers and don’t diminish your greatness.”


Jacaranda FM’s managing director, Deirdre King, highlights that communication is a skill that will set you apart from others. King adds that communication is more difficult as more people adapt to a work-from-home environment. 

“Impromptu chats in the corridor, the weekend stories, or connecting through hobbies and children, (or in my case animals) used to be how we connected at the workplace,” says King. 

“You have to work harder to create those one-on-ones, basically leaders need to invest more time with their teams deliberately. Share openly, be vulnerable, show your humanity, assume goodwill, stay close (through the myriad of virtual workplace tools), support colleagues and hold each other accountable.”


Manuela Dias De Deus, the managing director of One-eyed Jack, says discovering her niche helped her create one of Mzansi’s most successful entertainment marketing agencies. 

“If you see that niche, take it – and put everything behind it. When I started One-eyed Jack, I’d just moved to Cape Town so I had very few contacts to lean on. That meant I had to really put myself out there to network and build relationships. That hard work at the beginning has meant that we’re still here and stronger than ever, 11 years later.”


Kriya Gangiah, the owner of Kri8tive Media says efficiency is one thing that has attributed to her success in her industry and says it applies to everything you do during the work day. Gangiah also says that being deliberate with your time is what sets you apart. 

“If you get things done quickly and right the first time, it allows you more time to focus on other areas of your business. In addition to this, applying this advice to your personal life supports the way in which you work in your business and together they really complement each other.”


Sheer Publishing Africa’s managing director, Thando Makhunga, says keeping tabs on new developments within your industry will give you the edge. 

“Stay curious. Learning, listening and being teachable is important in your journey to discovering your full potential.”

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Retti Ramaphakela is the creative director at Burnt Onion Productions and the director of Netflix’s How to Ruin Christmas. Although getting the ball rolling is one of the biggest hurdles in starting a business, Ramaphakela advises businesswomen to just start. 

“Wherever you are, just get going. Know that it won’t be easy but you have to start somewhere. When we started Burnt Onion Productions, I was still working full-time for another production company, but just by getting the process started, I was closer to my dream. Also, know that this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

This Women’s Month, we are calling all young female writers to join our exciting Women in Journalism initiative. Find out more here!