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Emerging Zimbabwean entrepreneur Makhuku Maseko breaks into the booming accessories business


Makhulu Ngqoyi-Maseko with husband Nobert in the background

05/06/2017 00:00:00
by Crisford Chogugudza
 
Makhulu Ngqoyi-Maseko
 
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LONDON: What started as an obsession with accessories has inspired fashion-crazy Makhulu Ngqoyi-Maseko to start her own accessories business AFROXONE ACCESSORIES which is helping “bring Africa to the UK”.

Born to humble beginnings in Gauteng, South Africa in 1971, the flamboyant and trendy Makhulu - who is married to Zimbabwean health professional and fitness enthusiast, Nobert Maseko - defied the odds by successfully venturing into the highly competitive accessories sector.

Makhulu’s London-based business, situated at Ilford Plaza, now attracts many customers and admirers who have described it as a unique enterprise.

Makhulu says the business was a result of a strong determination for success which she and her influential Zimbabwean husband have had for many years.

The confident and self-driven business woman however, concedes that breaking into the sector was not easy and gives a lot of credit to her dynamic and supportive Zimbabwean husband Nobert, who works diligently behind the scenes.

Consistent with advances in technology, Afroxone has adapted to changing trends in consumer behaviour by offering online services to customers and, going forward, Makhulu wants to capture the entire African market in London and the rest of UK.

She says when it comes her business, the adage ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’ holds true for Makhulu who has become part of a very small cluster of African women in the UK willing to risk it all to make their business ideas a reality.

Makhulu is determined to break gender stereotypes and show that what a man can do she can also do, and do better. She also wants to be a role model for upcoming black and African women in the UK.

The business sources its products mainly from Africa, in particular from South Africa, but intends from expand to other parts of Africa with a view to promoting small scale producers on the continent.


Some of AFROXONE ACCESSORIES' products

The Zimbabwean, South African and Nigerian communities in London account for the bulk of Makhulu’s customers. She however, intends to target the whole black and African community in UK.



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Makhulu strongly believes that establishing AFROXONE ACCESSORIES was not a mistake or chance occurrence, but a product of innovative ideas she has held over a long period of time.

“I have woken up on numerous occasions with bright ideas bristling in my head and Afrozone was one such idea,” she explains.

Makhulu, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from South Africa, says her educational background and the considerable experience she has working in Africa and the UK has helped her develop sound management and marketing skills.

A risk-taker and strategic thinker who is always prepared for any challenges, Makhulu strongly believes that every successful business requires an element of risk taking.

Regarding the often volatile and unpredictable business environment in the UK, Makhulu says she is not fazed.

“I thrive on taking on challenges. The harder the challenges are, the more tenacious and resourceful I become. I will move mountains if necessary; failure is not part of my DNA,” she said.

Makhulu credits her hard-working parents as the greatest source of inspiration for who she is today. She says her father, a former manager in a corporate environment, and her mother, a former school teacher in Africa, as taught her lessons on business ethics, perseverance, and diligence.

When asked to describe her background, Makhulu says; “I am grateful for my formative years. I was responsible; l did not rush into an adult life style. I enjoyed my youth.

“I decided at an early age as to what type of person I wanted to be and I followed my dreams. I am also thankful to my parents who taught me at an early age to maintain high ethical values and integrity.”

Makhulu is looking at expanding her emerging business throughout the UK to places where there is a great concentration of black and African people. Her initial target is the wider Zimbabwean/South African community.

She states that the sky is the limit for her, insisting she will not be deterred by anything from developing her business from to a medium scale enterprise by 2020. She believes she has broken the glass ceiling as an emerging Southern African business woman in London.

With support from her family, customers and aggressive marketing, Makhulu’s business is poised to grow and provide an opportunity to showcase Zimbabwean, South African and other African products in the UK.

Crisford Chogugudza, a London based writer and journalist. Cris can be contacted at email: crisford02@yahoo.co.uk


 
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