NewsHorn recently met up with Nolubabalo Mcinga, a powerhouse businesswoman and a philanthropist, to tell us more about her journey to reach the apex in the business world and her love of helping people.
NewsHorn(NH): Who is Babsi Mcinga?
Nolubabalo Mcinga (NM): Nolubabalo Mcinga is well known by her nickname Babsi, born in Graaff-Reinet the fourth-oldest town in South Africa. “I was born into the Thembu Clan – Amangxongo and mothered by the Xhosa Clan – Amatshawe.”
She is a global business woman and author of “The Sum of Life,” as well as a philanthropist. “ I grew up watching my parents taking care of children who were not theirs or had extended family members living with us. In addition to providing accommodation and food, they provided school necessities and found them jobs. My parents are educators, retired headmasters of schools. I am a philanthropist today because I learnt my philanthropic behaviour from the love and passion my parents had and still have for others.
My mother was a member of an NGO called Vuyani. At the NGO, they took care of homeless children and that kindness and selflessness touched me even more. My mom had so many adopted children whom she prioritised over her biological children.
When I was 15 years of age, I assisted a couple from Ghana who were stranded. I brought them to my house and my mom took them in even without knowing them. They are currently running a very successful salon business in my home town. As a child raised in such a home, a home filled with the milk of human kindness, one that is willing to make sacrifices for others, irrespective who is involved, I became very passionate about helping others discover and fulfil their dreams.
When I studied in Bloemfontein, I used to go to an orphanage every month. I took a tithe from my pocket money to buy sweets, milk and bread for the children. I also ran a communications shop whilst studying. And I fed the homeless, those who slept outside the shop. To the glory of God, I have never looked back on this assignment for the past 25 years. Whenever and wherever I see a gap to assist, I do not hesitate to help. We are nothing if we cannot be a help and a solution to another’s problem(s).
NH: Seeing that you have a plethora of projects – be it philanthropy or otherwise you are involved in, how many people have actually benefitted from your good work?
NM: I leverage my networks and contacts to help friends and family members find jobs within the company I worked at in the past. In order to deepen this calling to help, I left my job, established a recruitment agency and have placed successfully over 100 candidates at Sundown Motors (Mercedes Benz, Freightliner, Mitsubishi), MAN Trucks, Phehlukwayo, Newton Baloyi Quantity Surveyors, Jonet Outdoor Advertising and Security, Zazise Communications, Macsteel Trading, Pencil & Pencil Stationery Shop, Harvey Roofing, Maxibus and other.
I have also supported community football clubs to reach professional leagues. Among those I assisted are Super Strikers FC, Blackburn Rover FC,and Tornado FC. I have also adopted 2 new teams this year.
When I started a valet service known as Airport Parkade at OR Tambo International, I fed the homeless at the corner of the Long Street and Monument Road every winter, since 2016. Last year, during lockdown, there was a lady who runs Onikayo NGO, Nobuntu Gloria Mbinda, in East London who introduced me to a shelter where she is responsible for housekeeping for the Eastern Cape Social Development Department, managed by Mrs Bulelwa Mangcu. I assisted over 40 homeless/misplaced people in that shelter to be provided with clothing, skills development, medical attention, spiritual upliftment and anything I can assist with.
NH: What other projects are you planning to introduce to empowering communities?
NM: I have planned new projects. It includes, but is not limited to training the blind to become entrepreneurs, starting a Food Security Campaign to feed villages, the unemployed, homeless and misplaced, opening a shelter for single parents and provide them with life skills, skills development and establishing a Training Centre. Finally, I hope to provide a home for the old and the aged living with Alzheimer’s disease (Senile dementia).
NH: At what point in your life did you decide that “This is what I want to do” I want to take over and revolutionise the business fraternity?
NM: Business had always been part of me. I started selling sweets and ice pops at the age of 10. As funny as it may sound, my managerial skills were honed as I had a sales team to sell my sweets at my parents’ school. I decided to venture into business after being in the corporate world for four years.
My first professional business venture was a recruitment agency, followed by a valet parking service at OR Tambo International Airport, a Reverse Osmosis Plant, an Events Management and a Business Consulting firm, an Accommodation venue and lodge, a TV & Film Production company (commercials, documentaries, film production and social media videos), Alata Gold SADC Partner and Publishing, Print and Digital.
NH: And how has the journey been up to this point, what kind of hurdles did you come across and how did you overcome them?
NM: I closed 3 deals in 2weeks for a recruitment company I worked for which made history in their books and yet were not paid a full salary due to the company’s debts. I left the company and started my own recruitment company. It is a tough world out there. I have also always had male mentors and business partners, therefore I have never felt gender violation or bias, instead being a woman had made my path easier in all my business ventures.
NH: Did gender play a role in you coming across those stumbling blocks or it’s just one of those lessons that one might encounter along the way?
NM: The only challenge in business is negative competition from some men. In certain cases, the men would try to sabotage your business in order to demotivate females in business.
NH: Seeing that government is making an effort in creating opportunities for women’s involvement in various sectors which were formerly earmarked or perceived as for men only. Do you think enough is being done to achieve that such as mentorship programmes and start-up funds?
NM: Honestly, I give credit to the government, from President Thabo Mbeki to President Cyril Ramaphosa for putting policies and programmes in place and paying attention to woman in business. The ball, therefore, is in our hands now, to make use of opportunities created for us.
NH: Is there an individual or individuals who mentored you into being the powerhouse you are today?
NM: Without any doubt, I have a lot of mentors, but my late uncle, Patrick Mcing, stands out. He planted the entrepreneurship spirit in me and thought me money principles. Later Dr. Monde Tabatha, Mr. Ganas Naidoo, Mr. Khaya Mama and Mr. Ncaphayi Diko groomed me to be who I am today. I will treasure these gentlemen for life.
NH: What is the best business advice you had ever received and what was the worst?
NM: Best Business Advice – Put God first in your business. First, it is God who gave you the vision for your business. Allow Him to give you direction on how you should carry out the vision. It was Khaya Mama who implored us to “have realistic goals in business” Dr. Monde Tabata reinforced this principle when he said, “take what you can chew and leave the rest for others, give them a chance. Put the business first not you.”
Worst Business Advice: You need money to start a business. My experience and the lessons from my mentors had taught me that you do not need money to start a business but an IDEA and smart application of the idea. The pandemic should not stop people reaching for their goals, to dream and do that they are passionate about. Everyone should use this time to plant crops in their gardens, exercise, give love, and write. It is also a time for prayer, a time to send that CV, look for that job and start that business from home, while keeping safe.
NH: What is the general outlook for you as far as the year is concerned, be it expansion or your business portfolio or your personal advancement?
NM: 2021 is the year of filming “Mbali,” the movie written by Darrel Roodt and owned by Luthuli Dlamini and myself. I will also be finishing the script of my second movie.