While we were all cooped up inside at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vuyo Mrwata found herself facing an additional hurdle: the country’s economic shutdown left her struggling to keep her first entrepreneurial endeavour in the beauty industry afloat.
Her business may not have seen the other side of lockdown, but Mrwata’s spirit never waned. Having learned a few lessons about the unpredictability of entrepreneurship, she came back stronger. Her goal? To build a “recession-proof business”.
Cut to the present day, and despite the pandemic’s setbacks, Mrwata has successfully kickstarted a new enterprise — Licebo Farming.
Mrawata spends her days harvesting a variety of vegetables and legumes along with her employees. Through her recent work, she has not only learned a new trade, but has also proven the value of her resilience.
“Although the journey wasn’t easy,” she explains,
“seeing the harvest from all the seeds I had sown finally coming to fruition has to be my proudest moment.”
Through her work, she has also sought to create jobs for other South Africans. After graduating from the University of Johannesburg with a degree in accountancy, she struggled to find a job, an experience many graduates share. Being able to expand job opportunities has been one of her biggest motivators.
By taking her life into her own hands, she’s simultaneously combatting job scarcity and working hard to positively affect the lives of others.
Despite all that she has achieved, Mrwata is no stranger to self-doubt, but she has refused to allow it to be a deciding factor. In an Instagram caption in which she reflects on her journey, she writes: “I had to talk myself out of thinking my first business was a failure and so was I.”
With therapy and support from her husband, she was able to bounce back and prove to the world that self-belief is crucial.
Beyond being a farmer and an entrepreneur, Mrwata is many other things — a mother, YouTuber, home-and-lifestyle blogger and beauty guru.
Between sponsorships, getting her children to school and harvesting her produce, she has a lot on her plate. Nevertheless, she takes the time to appreciate the moments in between, documenting them thoroughly through her photographs and blogs, and always prioritising her family.
She is a self-described “queen of planning”, constantly working on improving herself, forming new habits and gunning for “progress over perfection”.
At the core of farming is a balance of self-sufficiency and community, providing for oneself while laying the foundations that will support one another for years to come. Mrwata embodies these qualities.
She relies on her network and her family just as much as they rely on her. Through her values and her experience, she teaches us the importance of self-celebration.
She uses her story to remind others that starting something new and getting up again and again in spite of perceived failure can make all the difference.