Taking the PR business by storm Bomikazi Nkolongwane

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South Africa might be rich in many resources, but what we often forget is how rich it is in people. We often get caught up in all the negative news and forget the achievements of the many average citizens. Here we sit down for a quick chat with a women making a name for herself in Aliwal North - although her business doesn't stop there. 

1. Could you please tell us more about yourself - interests outside of business, hobbies etc? 

 I love travelling, cooking and sampling different cuisines. I am also into arts and craft, adult colouring, knitting and crotcheting.

2. How was your childhood?

I am the first born out of three children. My parents were civil servants; my mother being a nurse and my late father a teacher. The teaching at home was that one could be anything that one aspired to be. I grew up in a loving and supportive environment.

3. Whilst growing up, what did you aspire to and what were your goals and ambitions?

Growing up I wanted to be an ambassador representing my country in foreign countries. However, that hasn't materialised yet. 

4. I noticed that you have past experience working in the public sector - what were your responsibilities?

My role was that of a communications specialist at the then Westonaria Local Municipality (now part of West Rand City Municipality), then at the City of Joburg and finally at the South African Cities Network. I was in charge of corporate communication, website management, internal communications, establishing and maintaining social media platforms as well as media relations.

5. Do you think that this job (public sector) assisted you in any way in starting your own business?

I will forever be grateful for the exposure that I got from the public sector. One of the lessons I learnt was to be an all-round communications professional as there were limited resources and I had to make do with the little that was available. 

I also learnt that there are opportunities that are untapped within the public sector that I can use to my advantage. 

Finally, the public sector taught me to be patient. As a businessperson, one must be patient in order to fulfill their goals.

6. Please tell us about your company and what services you offer?

Amani Communications is a strategic communications company based in Aliwal North. The company was founded in 2014 and it offers public relations, media relations, events management, social media management and publications development services. Our clients include amongst others, Senqu Municipality, Film and Publication Board, Joe Gqabi District Municipality, Arengo6 and JoGEDA.

7. You were selected as the top achiever of the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s Small Business Academy run in partnership with JoGEDA, how do you feel about this?

This is one of my proudest moments. The Enterprise Development Programme training was what I needed to grow as a businessperson. The course taught me that opportunities are everywhere and that I needed to grab them.

8. What are the goals and ambitions you have for your company?

The goals that Amani Communications have are to grow the business to be one of the leading and recognised communications company in South Africa. We want the company to be self-sustaining and to employ more people.

9. In which way has the programme Small Business Academy & JoGEDA partnership assisted you?

The financial management module was very insightful. I learnt that I needed to be financially prudent so that I can grow the company. I now appreciate that the fact that I can do bookkeeping and interpret financial statements, which was a function outsourced to an external consultant before I enrolled with the course.

10. August is Women's Month, what advice can you offer women who are looking to start their own business?

Women are hardworking and very passionate beings. It is important for women to be economically and financially independent, as an equipped woman is able to look after many people. For women to be in business, it is important that the passion is accompanied by training, which will ensure that the business venture is a success.

11. In closing, I'd like to stick with Women's Month - do you think enough is being done through the public and private sector to promote women in business?

Efforts are being made, that can't be denied, but a lot more still needs to be done in rural areas. The promotion of women in business should be everyone's responsibility and not to be left to one sector. I as a woman have a responsibility to lift others as I rise.

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