By: Anna Majavu
Setting up a beauty training centre in a rural Mpumalanga village without electricity, water or any funding is a difficult task, but Precious Mmakgomo Mabotja has already graduated several students from her new academy. Just three months ago, Mabotja, born in Loding in Mpumlanga launched Prexxy Management in the nearby Marapyane village. She has already taught four students, who will all graduate in July.
After studying cosmetology at the Tshwane South TVET college in Pretoria, Mabotja worked for seven years at salons in Pretoria and Sandton as a massage therapist and a waxing specialist before moving home. Looking for a training space, she received permission from the Public Works Department to use a classroom in the disused former Mmasekaseka Primary School in the village. Marapyane had just 11,000 residents at last count and is 40km away from the N1 highway.
To be honest, it is hard to run a beauty business in a village. People don’t know what waxing or facials are. I am taking my pride and putting it away. I go house to house, marketing my flyers. So far, so good,” Mabotja told Vutivi News. There is no electricity in her allocated classroom, so Mabotja cannot use UV lights during manicures and pedicures. The water is brown, and she is unsure if it is usable, even for nail treatments. The classroom also doesn’t have security so Mabotja cannot store her massage bed or equipment there.
“It is very, very challenging for me. I’m not in a space where I can afford to put burglar bars on the windows or doors. There is no budget for that. I am not making any money yet. But I am hoping for the best because people look more interested,” she said. Mabotja offers a three-month course in professional make-up, nails, massage, waxing and facials for R15,000, with the cheapest one on offer being a three-day nail course. Her students so far have all come from surrounding villages. The course is very hands-on, and Mabotja has her students go out and look for clients to practice on. “I also teach them how to do marketing for when they set up their own salons one day,” she added.
There was a huge need for rural SMEs to be able to generate enough profits to hire employees, she said. “I have a lot of people coming to me asking for jobs. Unfortunately, I cannot give them any opportunity to work because I just started the business and it is not making enough money to pay someone.” So far, Mabotja has entirely self-funded the business, which means she is short of equipment and cannot host classes of 20 pupils.
She is now planning to open another branch in the village of Siyabuswa, also in Mpumalanga. “I want something challenging in life because this builds me into a strong woman and I learn to be independent,” said Mabotja. “Step by step, I will get there. I believe in myself. I just want to see myself creating more jobs for youth like me from around the villages.”