Youthful businesswoman defies all odds

Esnath Dhokotera, 29, has risen from owning a small tuck-shop to becoming a decorated businesswoman in the city - breaking the long-held belief that only men can be masters of the retail sector.

Emily Dhliwayo (left) with Esnath Dhokotera in the famous Pure Drop joint.
Emily Dhliwayo (left) with Esnath Dhokotera in the famous Pure Drop joint.

“I owe everything to God. There are so many people who work really hard but just do not make it. If I say my successes today is due to hard work I will not be striking the real point,” said Dhokotera.

During her childhood, she always wished to venture into the tourism and hospitality industry. That dream saw her enrolling for a Tourism and Hospitality Management diploma at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic College in Gwanda eight years ago. But she could not venture into the tourism business due to financial limitations.

In 2009 her journey to success started on a humble note. She opened her first tuck-shop in the densely populated suburb of Senga, targeting students from Midlands State University and locals in need of small grocery items. Within nine months, she had put together resources to open two more outlets.


“I realised that it was not useful to be frustrated by the low returns of the tuck-shops, so I kept soldiering on. My husband, Kudzie Manhambo, gave me strength and would always encourage me to go on.

“Church members from our apostolic sect, especially the women, also gave me courage and motivation,” said Dhokotera.

In 2012, she opened a restaurant serving various traditional and modern dishes as well as a bar at Senga Shopping centre. This was the first in the suburb and attracted clients from all over the city.

“What made me proud about the restaurant when we opened it was that I was able to employ over 25 ladies. Soon afterwards I opened a fully-fledged cocktail bar that we called Pure Drop. That name is now our trademark. We went on to open another similar bar in the suburb and also a bottle store. The number of women we employed surged to about 35,” she added.

Success story

Her success story continued as late last year she opened the biggest supermarket in Senga Suburb. In March she was nominated by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to be the country’s representative at an exhibition in Nigeria.

She put together a superb display of African ornaments and traditional dishes and was voted the best exhibitor out of over 100. She was awarded with a certificate of being Africa’s Best Entrepreneur exhibitor in the tourism and hospitality division.

In June the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce recognised her at an annual awards ceremony as the best upcoming entrepreneur in the Midlands region for 2012-2013.

Emily Dhliwayo, one of the employees at Pure Drop Restaurant, told The Zimbabwean that having a boss who is woman in a vast business empire made life easier and motivated other ladies.

“We always have words of inspiration from Dhokotera and she is ready to help us succeed like her. So many girls who are employed here now have a decent source of livelihood,” she said.

Ngoni Mazhindu, a patron of the Pure Drop outlets, said Dhokotera had helped reduce the unemployment level in the suburb, which made parents eager to be associated with the joints.

Rabson Hove, chairperson of the Midlands Chapter of the Small to Medium Enterprises, said if more women would take a leaf from Dhokotera’s book it would create a competitive environment because men would feel challenged – resulting in better working conditions for those ladies already in the job market.

“We always want more women to participate in business. Dhokotera must be commended for her sterling efforts,” he said.

Post published in: News

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