Rita Nthabiseng Sibande

Bend it like Rita – “This is how I made it!”

NEWS | BOSS LADY | ENTREPRENEUR

By Philes Davis

When God created a man, He observed that it wasn’t good for him to be alone. So, he decided to make for him “a helper.” To me, a helper is a partner. It was and still remains the intention of God that ladies should be of help.”

Motivated by the Holy Writ, enterprising Rita Nthabiseng Sibande grew up with a mindset of being a complete woman capable of fending for her own needs.

Rita Nthabiseng Sibande is a successful business magnet boasting of a chain of firms in cosmetics and accessories, as well as general building supplies.

According to Rita, gone are days when women were seen as second fiddle players who had to be over-relying on their husbands for the majority of their livelihood.

Life, from Rita’s view point, has changed and needs vibrant players irrespective of their sex, to combating poverty in their respective locales.

I made a vow to myself that as a wife I was going to be a ‘partner’ to my husband and help him through a whole range of issues. I don’t subscribe to just folding my arms and waiting for someone to do something for me,” Rita enlightens.

True to her words, at just 34 years of birth, Rita is a proud owner of three vibrant enterprises, Ritsaaa Bridal Accessories, Fantastic fashion boutique and Salon, Ulunji  General Dealers.  

Her journey is so inspiring that it can invigorate many a female soul to emulate. Rita grew up with a view that she, just like everybody else was meant to make a meaningful contribution to their societies.  

I look at myself as someone who was created to make contribution, be it in a general society or in my own small family.

Sometimes, how you’re raised and the experiences of growing up also molds to  greatness and you fight for every space of opportunity. I belong to such class of human beings,” she challenges.  

Motivation

Typical of potential successful entrepreneurs, Rita was raised in a family whose core values were risk-taking and resilience.  According to her, her current composure is all because of life-experiences she has sailed through from her early years on earth.

I’ve gone through a lot. My life experiences have taught me to be compassionate and also to be time conscious,” she reveals.

Early days

Rita’s thirst for entrepreneurship rolled into serious action in 2011. Whilst still employed somewhere, she could utilize her free days to travel and get stock.

Then, when she resumed work, she could be delivering to clients in their respective offices.

However, this was so hectic. It was becoming problematic to Rita. She had to decide.

In 2012, I felt I couldn’t be serving two masters simultaneously. I had to divorce my other duties and focus on my blossoming business enterprise.” She reminisces.  

Her early years as a self-employer saw the rejunivated Rita selling ladies attires and a few men’s suits. Later on, she managed to open a shop and also expanded her sphere of influence by selling cosmetics, hari saloon services, and mobile vending too.

Mostly, I used to go into people’s offices during lunch time to sell my stuff on cash as well as credit. In the process of time, I got established and then boom!!! Here I am!” she narrates.

2013 was another milestone as the ever-green Rita ventured into décor services.

I’ve always had this passion for décor. So, I commercialized my passion and started interior decorations resulting in my opening of another shop in Limbe,” she recalls.

The fruits

A well nurtured tree takes no time to bear sweet fruits. Rita is a case in point. Having succumbed to all the pressures that come with running a series of businesses, her enterprise started showing positive signs. It was no wonder therefore that the successes in her enterprise also trickled down to her private life.

Through the proceeds of the business, I’ve managed to acquire various properties, and in general my life has seen considerable changes.” She praised.   

The birth of other sister enterprises

Entrepreneurship 101 will tell you that you need to have multiple sources of income for the sake of uncertainties. So, out of her pioneer project, Rita has now managed to be expanding her conglomerate.

I now have *Ulunji General Dealers* – home to building and households materials such as tiles, ceiling boards, assorted furniture et al.” she boasts.

Minus that, Rita also boasts of Fantastic fashion boutique and Salon a marriage of barbing, and saloon services as well as trending clothing lines.

And the most recent enterprise, a business that has made Rita a true business tycoon in her own right is *Ritsaaa Bridal Boutique* an outfit that offers bridal accessories for hire as well as offering make-up and hairstyling services for the brides.

What has set Ritsaaa Bridal Boutique miles apart from its competitors is that it offers free wedding accessories if the bride hires the (wedding) gown from the firm.

We always try to be unique. Our aim is to make our clients’ weddings as memorable as they should be,” she boasts.  

Challenges

It is a norm that every sweet fruit is often times surrounded by bitter ones. The journey to the rise of Rita has not been that rosy. It had been meandering. Thanks to her perseverance and her assertiveness, she refused to surrender.

At one point, I lost everything courtesy of thieves. I had to start from a scratch again. It was so tough but I’d to soldier on!’ she recalls.

More was to come later. Tricksters, bad debtors, and toxic environments in neighbouring countries have, on countless occasions, delayed her progression. Not to talk of unforeseen economic hiccups.

And as Rita had been thinking of the next chapter in her life, the Malawi political environment had also another fair share of derailing her journey.

As you may recall, businesses came to a standstill courtesy of those countrywide demonstrations.” She recalls.

The Supreme court of the land delivered its say on what was to be the modus operandi in the country. Sanity was coming back to normal. Or so everybody thought.

Out of nowhere, Covid-19 now has had the last laugh; delivering blows to almost every business entity.  

Unlike others however, such experiences have offered new insights unto Rita on how to run her businesses.  

“I’ve sailed via turbulent waters. But what I’ve learnt is that the sun always shines no matter how dark the night can be,” she enlightens.

A word of advice

Rita has been there. She has done it. She knows all the corners of what it means to be, and not to be an entrepreneur.

To all aspiring entrepreneurs, Rita advises that they should always maintain their lane.

Life isn’t a straight line. There are pitfalls and mountains along the way. But if you know your destination, you can’t lose, or you shouldn’t lose track,” she advises.

The future

Having labored to shape what her enterprises have metamorphosed to being, energetic Rita is optimistic that a couple of years from now, her name shall be in all corners of the globe. According to her, it is her dream to expand her businesses by introducing more and exciting products and services so as to best serve her clientele.

“Looking ahead, I’m determined to expand my business by introducing more products on the market to satisfy more people and also to create more employment opportunities to those in need.” She visualizes.

Location of her businesses:

  • These recent additions to the business are located in Lilongwe at Area 36 next to Wakawaka market opposite Wakawaka depot/stage.

Private life

Rita is a professional Administrator with a Diploma in Business Administration. Currently, she is pursuing undergraduate studies in Business Administration at the Malawi Polytechnic. She is married and has a daughter.

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