Dressed in red and black, Thobeka Lwana, a perfume business owner from the Eastern Cape shares her story with us, as part of Momentum’s Success Films, which celebrate women.
Tobeka is a woman with many aptitudes. She is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, inclusion and equity advocate, and a champion of social development issues.
She was also a panelist at the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, a major global inflection point for gender equality.
The event brought together governments, corporations, and change-makers from around the world to define and announce ambitious investments and policies to accelerate equality, leadership, and opportunity for women and girls worldwide.
After moving to Johannesburg, Tobeka went into advertising and PR which led her into the financial services industry. Her foray into business was a passion project that translated to unstoppable success because Tobeka was doing what she loved.
Tobeka also knows about the difficulties women face in business and like so many others, has overcome these hurdles not only through the right partnerships and networks but also through the right advice for success. “What I’ve now learned is that having the right people that understand what you’re trying to build [is important] and being aligned towards the same goal, and also resilience… because curveballs will come,” she says.
A keen philanthropist, she is part of black women-led Non-Profit Organisation Do Good Circle, which aims to implement innovative and accessible ICT programmes to youth in rural and semi urban areas to address inequality and create socio-economic independence and jobs.
“We also provide gender-based violence programmes and initiatives around responsible consumption of alcohol by the youth,” Tobeka says. What is core for her is helping women and young girls attain self-reliance and self-determination.
She believes this can address the structural barriers preventing women from accessing jobs and getting help when they need it thereby giving women a sense of freedom.
“Being of service and doing my part is a major part of who I am. For me, that is a success,” she says success also means freedom. “The freedom to be able to sustain myself and to be able to sustain others. And also, to give back. And to do the things that bring me joy,” Tobeka says.