By: Tebogo Mokwena
While growing up, Rabelani Ratshili was inspired by how her father, Johannes, worked incredibly hard. He was a carpenter and often accompanied him to work where she learnt valuable life skills. Even today as the CEO of Rabe’s Construction, she still consults her father for assistance and advice. Although Ratshili is based in Thohoyandou in Limpopo, she has done projects in every province. She started her business in 2019 and already employs 30 people. Rabe’s Construction provides services like building construction, renovations, plumbing, roofing, paving, tiling and electrical services.
Her clients include residences, private businesses and the government. Ratshili obtained a qualification in plumbing at the University of Venda, and she also completed a business management course at the UNIVEN Innovative Growth Company, which is part of the University of Venda. Ratshili said that many believed she has had it easy in life. But she has had to learn tough lessons that have shaped her into the businesswoman she is. “It’s hard being a woman in any business field, much less in the construction sector, a sector that is hard on women,” she said.
“I started my business from the bottom up with no funding. The fact that I am a woman is an extra hurdle to overcome because people do not believe that the business belongs to me. “They also don’t believe that I run a construction business as they believe it is rare to find a woman in the construction sector,” she told Vutivi News. But she stayed the course and is proud of her work. “I am proud of the fact that I worked around the country, and have been called to do projects of various kinds,” she said.
“My father also played a role in me becoming an entrepreneur, because he encouraged me from the get-go to follow my dreams and to start my own business because he believed in my abilities and skills.” Ratshili remains thankful for everything her father has taught her. “As a hardworking man, I was inspired by his relentless attitude, and I am able to apply the knowledge that I obtained from watching him, although sometimes I still rely on his counsel for projects that are a bit difficult,” she said. Her aim is to continue to build her business and employ 230 people in the next five years.