Siphiwo Mzwali is one of over 100 participants of Standard Bank Enterprise Development’s 12-month Basali Development Programme. She is the founder of Normadic Investments, a Rustenburg-based entity that provides car wash and smash and grab services for cars and properties. She also runs an NPO called Gift of Peace Foundation.
- The Programme was launched in 2021, with the objective of ensuring that participants increase their annual turnover, create quality job opportunities and improve their compliance in order to qualify for higher levels of funding. Read the full Programme release here.
- After joining the Basali Programme, Siphiwo soon became one of the first women in the North West to secure an automotive dealership in partnership with Standard Bank.
- She is now the co-founder and Director of Rock Automotives, a 100% African and women-owned retail company.
Although she didn’t have any particular career in mind, Siphiwo says she’s always known three things to be true – she wanted to work with and help people, work in a male dominated industry, and do that living in a province where she didn’t know anyone, or the dominant language/s spoken there. “For me to be stimulated, I knew I needed to be in a foreign place. Though I couldn’t imagine leaving my mother behind, I managed to and lived up to my childhood expectations,” she says.
Siphiwo is as special as she is smart. Unlike us little people, she shares that she remembers almost everything about her childhood. “I remember things that happened when I was as young as two or three.”
AN UNCONVENTIONAL CAREER
While Siphiwo definitely wanted to work in an industry where she could work with and help people, she took an unconventional path to the destination. “It’s easy for us to care for people physically, but I wanted to do that in a place where people wouldn’t expect one to do that.” Siphiwo started what would be a stellar career at BMW. It was then that she realised that the financial process of acquiring a vehicle and the subsequent maintenance are events that involve a lot of emotions. She takes care of her client’s emotions; putting them at ease with her passion and expertise. After 10 years of industry experience, she went on to found Normadic Investments.
BASALI BROKE SO MANY THINGS DOWN FOR ME
“The Programme made me realise how much you can do just by applying your mind. In day to day living, like when you drive to work. You get to your destination, but you’re not really thinking about it as you do it – you’re unconsciously competent. When it came to running my business, I did a lot of that. There are also times when I wouldn’t achieve something, and I wouldn’t even be aware of it – I would be unconsciously incompetent,” Siphiwo says.
Being part of the Basali Programme reminded her of how important the little things are. “They broke so many things down for me. Since Basali, I understood my position in my company better. It’s not always about the hat I wear, it’s about efficiency and productivity so I can keep wearing that hat.”
What’s in a name? Siphiwo explains
Siphiwo has a very simple explanation for this unique name. “It’s nomadic but with an ‘r’. In Grade 5 History we were taught about groups like prospectors and nomads. Nomadic people are people who move from one place to another and don’t stop until they find what they’re looking for. I liked that.”
Was the move from employee to employer natural progression for you?
“I always knew I would one day draw salary running my own company, and at the time, I didn’t even know my late father ran his own company. Entrepreneurship is in the family,” Siphiwo tells us. The founder in waiting registered her company as a dormant company in 2006.
How do you want to be remembered?
“I want people to remember me for being myself.”
What big sis advice would you give young girls?
“Don’t enter an industry because it’s a male dominated industry, just do what you want and like… Even if it’s in a female dominated industry. I am the Automotive Sector lead for the Women Economic Assembly, and now I own Rock Automotive. It just so happened that I am black, female and occupying those positions. But me being a black woman had nothing to do with why I started my company. It was only because of my passion. I taught myself cars. You need to find out what you like, and do it with love and passion, master it.”