Meet The South African Business Woman Who Is Challenging Notions Of Disability

By Stephen • July 5, 2016

Sebenzile Matsebula is an exceptional business woman based in South Africa; she has overcome immense challenges as a disabled person who established an IT business known as Motswako Office Systems. Her success is evidence that success can be achieved despite physical limitations. South Africa’s economic climate is very challenging for entrepreneurs and Matsebula is overcoming these challenges and marking her territory as a black business woman.

She has literally been dependent on crutches her whole life as she was diagnosed with polio at the young age of 10 years old and she currently uses a wheelchair. “When you get older and you have post-polio syndrome, your energy levels are not as good as they were when you’re younger. Sometimes I get tired, but I am still able to have a full day,” she says.

She believes in taking ownership of your own life and it is very vital for her to be active in her community as a social justice activist. As a mother of 2 men aged 28 and 25, it is clear that her business serves as an example to them to fulfill their dreams.

Motswako is a Setswana word, meaning “in the mix” and the company was established to meet an ongoing holistic need in the IT industry. The company has also created IT jobs for South African professionals who are keen to participate in transformation and economic empowerment.

Matsebula took the challenge to become a business woman head on after she was initially approached by a company to improve their Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) score card. She ticked all the boxes: Black, Female and Disabled. This is only one of the examples that have given her the valuable experience to become the director of her current company.

Over the past 26 years, Matsebula has worked her way through business development to ensure economic empowerment and she sits on a number of boards including Action on Disability and Development, Centre for Alternative and Augmentative Communication, Cheshire Homes South Africa, First Rand Foundation, South African Development Trust for Disabled People and the Presidential Advisory Council on Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment. Matsebula was nominated to serve on the Committee of the United Nations Convention for Persons with Disabilities in 2012.

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