Born and bred at Esikhawini Township in KwaZulu Natal. I’m the first born of four children in the Mkhwanazi household. My siblings are Xolani, Siphesihle and Musa. My parents were strict disciplinarians who impressed upon me the importance of hard-work and honesty. My father, Reginald taught me the significance of Zulu customs and traditions. He instilled a sense of pride about my heritage as a black woman.My identity is richly and deeply grounded in being an African and a South African, that is where my self-confidence and resilient spirit are rooted.My late mother Gertrude, Khonzile, a nurse by profession, was spiritual – A God fearing woman who imparted Christian values and morals. My upbringing was a product of the entire community.
My parents encouraged me to dream and to put God first in everything I do. I was inspired by my then neighbour who was a social worker – I developed the love to become one. In my young mind she was the epitome of success.
I liked the fact that she was a woman and could drive a car, she dressed differently – she was very stylish and I liked how she handled herself as a lady, but my mother shattered the illusion when she explained in-detail what a social worker did on a daily basis and advised me to explore better paying opportunities. I had an amazing childhood !
An ordinary woman:
My mother used to have very private and intimate conversations with me – In my spirit, I sometimes feel that she knew she was not going to be with me for a long time. She would consciously select the right words to use when talking to me, that’s why I struggle to take anything negative coming from a woman. She invested in words. She spoke life into my life. My father was very protective of me – He would screen my friends for fear of wrong influence. Sadly, my mother passed away when I was only 16 years old, I was doing my Matric at Umdlamfe High School.
In the year 2000, I was transferred to Johannesburg. I was exposed to many young successful businesswomen who were fearlessly making their mark in their chosen fields of business. I wasted no time, I registered my cleaning business called Fisokuhle Multiservices in 2002. It was an opportunity I couldn’t allow to slide by. I was the first young woman to own a business in my community and my efforts inspired many young women to follow suit. I did everything with grace; I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I also learnt valuable lessons from my mistakes.
My efforts were recognized by a number of business organizations (check Awards link). The success of Fisokuhle Multiservices shaped my business skills and brought so much joy and hope in my life.
I am married to a Pantsula and a friend. It’s a pleasant combination of personalities. They say if you are the same then one of you is unnecessary. I am elegant , classic and a strong personality ; you’d think I’d also go for a guy who is like me. I found love in a Pantsula from Durban – I could not be attracted to any other being as my father is also a Pantsula. I fell in love with his “It” factor – that says “ you might be Felicia this and that but you need me to rock your world “… Lol.
He has what I don’t have. He’s street-wise and has bailed me out from a number of tight spots. Pantsulas are very sharp on blind spots and blind rises.It’s amazing how we fall in love – when we think we are in control. I did not understand when all of a sudden my heart was stolen from me. You must know you are truly in love when you can’t sleep at night. I must say, I felt him in my spirit. He proposed in 2004 and we got married in 2005. Building a family is never easy. I had my fears and those fears were not communicated with my partner.
My biggest fear was to lose myself, losing my essence and losing my independence which I gained at the tender age of 16. I didn’t know where to start; it took me at least two years to adjust to my new role. It’s about finding THAT unique rhythm for your home that speaks directly to you and your partner’s soul. We’ve found ours and I love loving my husband. I love being a wife.
I never imagine myself as a mother. I knew one day I’d become one but I always saw it as the last aspect on my list. Motherhood has taught me so much patience and unconditional love. My first son Bandile was born in October 2005 and the second one Thandolwethu was born in July 2009. I love children but I think my husband is good with children more than I am. I enjoy motherhood, it’s a huge responsibility. To nurture, shape perspective and impart life lessons to an honest soul isn’t for cowards.
My 5 Top values I would like to impart to my boys:
• The values of Ubuntu.
• To dream the impossible dream.
• Respect of self and others.
I do miss my mother especially when my children are not well. But, I am blessed because I am always surrounded by love. Love is everything
I do Magazine:
In 2009, I developed an interest in Media and that was a tough transition for me. I did research on how to start a magazine; it was very hard to get the information.
I ordered books and used Google as a tool to get more information. The information I found was indeed very discouraging. I had just spotted a gap in the market for a publication that speaks to married couples. I wanted to fill it. The inspiration came from realizing that every second marriage ends in divorce. It was happening at a very high and scary rate and people were beginning to make it seem normal.
The urge to start a magazine grew stronger and ‘I do’ magazine was officially launched in Johannesburg on 14 February 2010. I was fascinated by how people responded to the concept – It was overwhelming. The magazine is aimed at bringing back marriage into fashion.
As an entrepreneur it has been a blessing to be able to align my purpose with my business. I’m very passionate about families and marriage. Marriage is here to stay – It will never go away. I’ve also revolutionized the industry as it is not accommodative to married couples. We launched’ I do’ Awards. The annual award ceremony that takes place in the month of love every year. The event is designed to celebrate love – We chose Valentine’s week to celebrate our marriages in style. The event is aimed at bringing the spark back and to honour inspirational couples. It has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day per se. I’m currently working on developing and empowering myself within the Media Industry. I believe in excellence.
I have graduated as part of the group of 10 000 women in the Goldman Sachs – GIBS programme.
This has been the most amazing programme I have ever done. I loved every moment of it – it put business pieces into perspective. I chose print media because I want to reach as many people as possible. I have received the most amazing feedback from the readers of the magazine.
I decided to study my craft to the best of my ability, by getting one or two degrees in journalism. I then registered with Wits University so that I could fulfill my mission of being the best in the print media industry. Things got even more exciting when I was invited to judge the PICA Awards 2013 and the MTN radio Awards 2014. It was a reassuring affimation by the industry.
I started a new chapter in my life. I woke up one morning and was suddenly a different person. A new wave of life came in, making me to see the world differently and I was no longer only interested in facility management – It was a safe and profitable business for me( My comfort Zone). But I longed for something with a deeper meaning and significance. I spotted a gap in the market for a publication that speaks to me as a modern wife, a mother and self driven women. I decided to follow an intense inner calling of my soul.
I embarked on an intense research journey that took me two years.
• Consumers are interested in something meaningful, something that will enhance the standard of life significantly.
• People are moving away from a bling lifestyle and they are becoming more level headed in decisions making.
• The family structure was going through crisis and needed attention.
• There was a gap for a magazine that speaks and looks deep to the soul of the consumer.
• The realization that nothing can be fixed, if the family structure is in shambles.
• Vibrant, healthy families are a building block of thriving, value-based society.
• The I do brand consumer has always been around but the existing tools were not designed to measure them.
Fisokuhle Media was born, It is the publishing house for I do Magazine. I do Magazine and I do Awards are 100% committed to promoting Healthy Marriages and Happy Homes. The most difficult part in any new business venture is to get funding.
• I do Magazine was launched in Johannesburg on the 14 of February 2011. The event was held at Ster Kenikor
• I do Magazine was created to fill a gap in the market for in-depth and accessible coverage on marriage issues, both factual and more importantly inspirational.
It focuses more on the positive, rather than on negative by taking a holistic approach and emphasizing the importance of family structure.
• I do has positioned itself as a marriage focused magazine of choice for modern, mature, sophisticated couples rooted in family values. I know I do
brand market very well because I am it’s market.
• The experience made me to adjust my business plan accordingly, based on the industry realities and my reality.
I embarked on promoting the brand through radio, newspapers , magazines , events, television and social media.
• I do Awards was successfully launched in 2013
• I realized that an independent publication cannot survive on its own. It needs to be supported with a strategy that will add value, maintain and build the relationship with the readers and advertisers.
• I do Awards guiding philosophy focused on edutainment and infotainment as it provides information and inspiration to the guests.
• We honor inspirational couples – It is the opportunity to renew vows in style.
• National Marriage Week was successfully launched in partnership with Intiem Magazine.
• I do Awards is truly bringing marriage back into fashion.
• You get to wear your wedding dress for the second time. Our theme is wedding and the dress code will always be white gown / wedding gown or traditional attire. Men come in black suits or traditional wear.
My down Time:
• I am at the best when I am at home.
• I connect with my old friends and family.
• I like reading autobiographies and inspirational books.
• I enjoy mentoring young individuals.
It is heart-warming to note that the ‘I do’ brand is making a difference in other people’s lives. I am patiently working on building a very powerful brand, one that will become a force to be reckoned with. I have found my purpose and the feeling is Aha!.
All that I am was shaped by the home I was brought up. Important choices good and bad were influenced by how my parents raised me. That is why I am passionate about stable, healthy and happy homes.
Thank you for showing interest in my story. I will share more insight on my Blog link and book, in all you do – don’t forget to LIVE. LOVE. LAUGH!
Celebrating Wives is a movement that I launched in August 2014. I realised that there’s a huge need to reinforce positive upliftment among married women. I initially planned to use every platform available to spread the message including my social media platforms. I want to remind wives to maintain the attitude of gratitude regardless of the season they are in and to never move from the basics.
Upon realising the need to encourage wives, and the awesome feedback we receiving on the impact #CelebratingWives campaign, I and my team decided to make it our annual campaign and focus on encouraging and inspiring married women during the month of August.
I truly believe that all women have an important role to play in our society, but my main focus is to give “marriage” a facelift. Our mission is to come up with new ideas that are aligned with “I do brand” objectives. In future, we are planning to host an event that will only focus on “celebrating wives.” We will address issues that are faced by married women with a content completely different from that of a single woman.
I do is a lifestyle publication which focuses on promoting healthy marriages and happy homes. We are more interested in practical advice and real life stories facing modern couples.