Healing with African marula

“The world has to know that there is a Portia from Africa using African ingredients to heal the skin under the African sun.” These are the words of pioneer and businesswoman, Portia Mngomezulu, who has made a huge contribution to the beauty and cosmetics industry.

From a survey conducted by Brand Africa, Mngomezulu recently walked away with an accolade of the most-admired woman-owned brand in South Africa.

With her products being sold in 11 African countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Nigeria, Mngomezulu said her business was growing and the products are in demand throughout the continent.

She told Sunday World she established her business Portia M in 2011 after giving birth to her first-born son.

She said she saw where her business was headed before it took off and that has kept her going.

“My mother in-law is the one who told me about marula oil because after giving birth I struggled with stretch marks, I used it and it worked, that is where the idea was birthed.

“And because most products are from other countries and have no clue of the African climate, I had to use our own marula to heal our skin.”

“In the beginning there were a lot of challenges.

“I had no capital, I went to several banks and they turned me down because of the risks in the industry, but that was a risk I was determined to take,” said Mngomezulu.

She revealed that her business suffered a huge backlash on social media, where people were speaking ill about her products.

“It was meant to harm the brand, but it worked for our good because numerous retailers wanted the products on their shelves as we topped the trends.

when that happened, as a qualified information technologist I knew that I was touching a nerve somewhere.

“I am not saying our products work for everyone, but if a customer does not like a product they change it, that is why there are so many brands.

“I have always understood that as an African child, that whatever I do, I need to work 100 times more.”

Employing more than 240 staffers, the Limpopo-born mogul has taken 23 first-year students to varsity through the Portia M Foundation.

“I was raised by my grandmother in the rural areas, and we did not have things given to us on a silver platter but because of the community I grew up in, people would help when they had means. The bursary scheme comes from that upbringing,” said Mngomezulu.

For more business news from Sunday World, click here. 

Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here

Latest News