By Thembelani Mkhize
The first time I met Senzile Madlala I had to wait about two hours deciding whether to give her my book or my CV. She told her staff to make me a free cup of coffee while I waited at one of her restaurants Midmar View. To be honest I would’ve given up if I wasn’t so focused of finishing a drawing. By the time she got there my shading was so on point that I had got about four people who had asked me to do their drawings. That was about 2 years ago. The last time I met Senzile was last week and though I waited another hour or two I wasn’t just Thembelani the Artist looking for a Job it was Thembelani Mkhize the Journalist doing an interview on her.
On the day we met after she saw the art I was working on she asked me one simple question “how much are you’re worth” now at the time I had no idea how to answer that question. My art was like a hobby that barely made me any money but after she got her hands on me and mentored me for a while. After a few months I was charging her for graphic design work that I had done for her many businesses.
Senzile and Iimbewu executive board member Bongani Maseme
Senzile is an infamous Foodie and perfectionist. She loves the healthy lifestyle and encourages everyone she works with to be vigilant when working and setting spaces for people she hosts whether it be an event or at the restaurant when working with “the Boss lady” you might move a single table about twelve times just to get it at the right position. One of her restaurant the Midmar View Express is a local favourite and a lot of people enjoy their shisa’nyama weekends with them. Apart from the restaurants Senzile runs Il’e nail and beauty Spa which was located in Mpophomeni but has since moved to Laager centre in Pietermaritzburg. The other Midmar View Restaurant is located at the Midmar nature reserve and they host all kinds of functions from weddings to conferences
The express breakfast from Midmar view Express
Senzile prides herself in being a social entrepreneur. Her community work echoes around Msunduzi and the midlands. Her foundation IIMBEWU has done a lot of community work including the Mpophomeni Farmers Market, sponsoring the very first Howick 10km marathon, and hosting a free lunch for the elderly in December to thank them for their support. Senzile prides herself at being a tough no nonsense business women but also a caring mother. Her kids are active in some of her business and they help out during holidays and events.
In future Senzile is looking at going into catering consulting to assist black business with the accreditation process. She has done her HACCP training and is looking to branch into the new field after she is done with the unpredictable world of restaurants. “I’m also looking into contract catering in the years to come. I think it’s time I play with the big boys” says Madlala. With regards to her community work Madlala wants to see Iimbewu’s farm stall in Edendale up and running to give the farmers market members a place to sell their organic fresh produce.
Her advice to women on the month we celebrate them is to love themselves “a lot of women now days want to be men so they forget how special it is to be a woman, I fear that no one will teach our kids the power of a mother when everyone is so focused on trying to correct the mistakes of the father”.
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