Peggy Langa

Peggy Langa. Image: Supplied

One woman’s mission to bring workplace wellness to Limpopo

Peggy Langa knows that a push – or even an unexpected shove – is sometimes what is needed to turn a good idea into a business.

Peggy Langa

Peggy Langa. Image: Supplied

Peggy Langa knows that a push – or even an unexpected shove – is sometimes what is needed to turn a good idea into a business.

In 2009, when she was still an assistant manager at a beauty salon in Gauteng, the professional massage therapist bought her first mobile massage bed because “I did not see myself being 40 and still working for someone else”. 

The final push

However, as a single mother of two at the time (now three), the reality of bills to pay and mouths to feed tied her to formal employment for a further two years, until that final push came in the form of retrenchment.

She worked as a freelance massage therapist for a few years before taking the final plunge to start her own business, Destress and Relax Mobile Massage in 2016.

“I made decision to relocate back home to Mokopane in Limpopo to start afresh. All I had at the time were skills, experience, a car, a massage bed and a registered business name.”

Culture of workplace wellness

Armed with a degree in somatology (a multi-disciplined approach to health and wellness, which includes holistic treatments for the body and mind, as well as nutritional counselling and lifestyle advice) from the University of Johannesburg, Langa’s ultimate goal was to enter the corporate environment and help create a culture of workplace wellness in Limpopo. 

“South Africa is one of the most stressed countries in the world, according to a Bloomberg study, therefore I’m on a mission to educate and find ways to help reduce the impact of stress which, in some cases, contribute to the social ills we are facing as a country,” she explains.

“I hope to get to a point where workplace wellness is a norm for all companies.”

A great concept, but the reality has been far more challenging.

Roller coaster ride

“Coming back to Mokopane after 15 years was a roller coaster ride in itself: I had to start from the bottom, introducing myself and building a network. Of course being a introvert naturally did not help much!” she recalls.

But Langa persisted, and even plucked up the courage to approach local lodge managers.

Four years later, she’s proud to offer her services at several lodges and hotels, visits the offices of Mokopane FM monthly to treat their staff to massages and even counts the mayor of Mogalakwena Municipality as one of her regular clients. 

Lockdown curveball

The COVID-19 lockdown has, of course, thrown her an unexpected curveball. She and the four therapists who work for Destress and Relax on a commission basis lost their entire income for three months.

Another setback was that she had secured funding via a business incubator to send two new therapists under her mentorship for formal training, but has now had to postpone their enrolment and, along with it, the growth of her business.

It’s been tough, but Langa returned to work on 29 June and is now rebuilding her business, driven by her firm belief that as an entrepreneur “falling is part of the process, choosing to stay down is failure”. 

This resilience, she says, was learnt in her childhood, where as a single child to a single parent she grew up among cousins under the care of their grandmother while their mothers were away for work.

“Being an only child taught me to never depend on others, and growing up watching our mothers working so hard and being so focused has encouraged me to become the stronger woman I am today.”