I’m Duduzile Noeleen Ngwenya, 21-year-old founder of Ayana Innovative, parent company to the digital Ayana Magazine. I am also a Financial Accounting student, working towards being a CA.
What are you most passionate about in life?
I’m passionate about a lot of things, the concept of love, God, women empowerment and success, just to name a few.
What characteristics would you say one needs to be a successful entrepreneur?
Patience, diligence and persistence. You work hard, practice excellence in everything you do, then you live the rest to God by being patient, because His will prevails, and things will happen at the time He chose.
What prompted you to start Ayana?
My passion for women empowerment is what drove me to start Ayana Innovative. With almost everything going digital, I then figured that a digital magazine aimed at empowering, supporting and giving a platform to women to express themselves, in the different issues we go through as women, every day.
What is your proudest achievement in life?
I’d say bouncing back from staying home for 3 years because of financial constraints, rising against all odds, to where I am today, that is my proudest moment. Knowing that I’m making an impact in some people’s lives, makes me happy.
Who are the rocks in your life?
God, my family and a very few people I consider as friends. But mostly, God is the rock in my life. From the day I started Ayana, I asked Him to be there, guide me and take me through this journey, till to date, I see His touch in everything that has to do with my Ayana.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in life so far?
I’ve learnt that everything happens for a reason, and that it all works out for the best, even when you don’t see it, as long as you believe in God.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
My family. They’ve been with me through the worst and best, I can’t imagine life without them.
Which three people would you say inspire you in your career and in life?
My mother is my first role model, she is a strong, smart and resilient woman, I hope I become someday. I look up to her in everything. Mrs Khanyi Dhlomo is a business woman I look up to in terms of work, I love her work ethics and the way in which she has contained herself all throughout, regardless of the growth she has achieved. The late Ellen G White, is the third woman I find inspirational, through reading her books, I get inspired and get closer to God, her writing contributes to my spiritual growth.
Who is your favourite entrepreneur and why?
As mentioned on the previous question, Khanyi Dhlomo is my favorite entrepreneur. Her work ethics and how she has managed to grow so rapidly yet keeping a humble character, it’s very beautiful.
Where do you hope entrepreneurship in SA will be positioned in the next five years?
The high unemployment rate in South Africa, has driven most of youth to dive into the entrepreneurship route, and should we get more support from our government, in terms of funding, our economy will do better than now. This will mean that the unemployment rate will drop, as entrepreneurs create job opportunities.
How best do we go about building a generation of entrepreneurs that will help develop Africa?
Support from our African leaders can help, as well as programs/workshops aimed at empowering African entrepreneurs, will shape African entrepreneurship into something beneficial in the future.
What keeps you motivated during the low moments in your life?
I affirm myself. I pray, a lot. I try not to indulge in negative thoughts that will only drown me deeper into that sinking sand.
What are you most fond of about being South African?
I’m mostly fond of the South African languages, and the places. I basically love everything about being South African.
What is a typical day in your life, like?
First thing in the morning is prayer, to lay all my plans for the day, at the feet of Jesus. My plans revolve around working and studying. If there aren’t meetings involved on that day, it’s less overwhelming.
How would you like to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered as the woman who did what she had to do, to change the way women see each other. I’d like to be a part of the journey of building genuine sisterhood, impacting lives, that is what I’d like to be remembered for.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt in your career and life so far, that you wished you knew sooner?
That doing business with friends or family, is not a good idea. It’s wiser to do business with professionals, who wouldn’t expect anything, but a job well done, from you.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see my Ayana Magazine growing into a global digital magazine. I see it reaching many more women and creating many job opportunities.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs trying to make their mark?
I always say if you have a burning idea you’d like to implement as a business, no matter what, just start. No one will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself, everything starts with you. Put in the work, and it will pay off.