Makhanda businesswoman leads the pack

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Monday, 21st February 2022

Makana Tourism member and businesswoman, Zimkhitha Mahlahla was recently selected as one of the businesswomen to represent the Sarah Baartman District at South African Tourism’s Women in Tourism initiative.

South African Tourism in partnership with Nedbank selected 225 women from all over the country to be part of the Women in Tourism programme – an empowerment initiative to promote black business women in the tourism industry.

The initiative aims to inspire the spirit of entrepreneurship through knowledge foundation, mentorship, and opening markets to black-women-owned small, medium, and micro-enterprises operating in the tourism sector. The businesswomen would have to go through training as part of the empowerment. The training has three phases, which are Business Planning and Financial Management, Marketing Strategy and Sales, HR Operations and Risk Management.

The Acting Chief Operating Officer of South African Tourism, Hanneli Slabber, says that they have seen many tourism businesses and establishments close shop over the past two years due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “South African Tourism is committed to doing all it can to rebuild and reignite the tourism sector. This Women in Tourism initiative is a great tool in contributing to assist many women-owned businesses to be optimally functional and ready to receive domestic, regional and international travellers as the sector gradually recovers,” she said.

In the Eastern Cape, 25 women were chosen to participate in this prestigious programme. Mahlahla was the only one selected as a finalist in the Makana region as well as a finalist in the Sarah Baartman region, following after Hester Fourie. So far, Mahlahla has attended the first phase of the three-part programme which focuses on business planning and financial management.

“I was extremely grateful to be selected as a participant in this programme because I have learned so much about how to manage my business account. The training also revived my accounting skills,” said Mahlahla. When asked how she survived during the Covid-19 period, she emphasized that she had to be flexible and provide what the public needed at the time. Since most well established food outlets could not operate, she had the advantage of working from home and deliver food to customers. This thinking out of the box is what got her business to survive, she said.

“Makana Tourism is very proud to see one of our members flying the flag high for the Makana brand and women in tourism,” said Makana Tourism Acting Director, Prudence Mini. “This news comes in as we are about to launch our new brand scheduled for 26 and 27 February. The rebranding launch allows us to not only to appreciate our local gems but equally importantly, celebrate community members such as Zimkhitha who contribute positive stories about the region. We wish her everything of the best.” Mini added.

Zimkhitha Mahlahla has a catering and events Company called Zimmy Developments. She started the business in 2016 and operates from 447 Extension 6 in Makhanda. As part of her catering business, Zimkhitha prepares everything including breakfast, lunch and evening meals with a menu that is tailor-made for her clients. Her events always aim to create memorable experiences for her guests.

If you would like to get in touch with Zimmy Developments, please contact her on:

073 713 3175 or email at

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