Township pharmacy owner goes from rags to riches

Phumza Matwele in her Khayelitsha pharmacy
Phumza Matwele in her Khayelitsha pharmacy
Image: Supplied

Phumza Matwele is the founder of Eunimike Trading, the only over-the-counter pharmacy and healthcare centre in Khayelitsha, Western Cape. Although there are big-name brand pharmacies in local malls, there are no small independent pharmacies such as Eunimike Trading.

The daughter of a domestic worker, the 34-year-old never believed that she would one day own a successful business that has successfully managed to make a turnover of R80,000 monthly.

“My business opened in 2015. In the early stages the monthly turnover was between R7,000 and R10,000. When the SAB Foundation came into my business the monthly turnover was at an average of R30,000. When they fully supported my business using marketing and other aspects the business turnover went to R80,000,” Matwele said.

Her success has led to the opening of a second pharmacy under her name two months ago. She now provides work for three people.

A mother of three, Matwele said she was raised in a poor and disciplined family and this inspired her to chase after her dreams. Although she never went to any university, Matwele was accepted into a entrepreneurial development programme with the dream to open her own business.

“I worked in few different sectors until I had the opportunity to study at the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development due to my zeal to go into the business world.”

Through the business training she became a part of seven entrepreneurs who in 2015 opened pharmacies in the area.

“When the opportunity came to set up medicine stores in the rustic communities, I wasn't the only one that was set up. We were about seven who were set up through the help of the Raymond Ackerman Academy and the Cipla foundation. But I continued alone till this day; others have since closed their businesses [due to theft among other challenges]. It’s not that I’m better than the others, I persevered.”

Matwele's dream is to see Khayelitsha have access to quality healthcare.

“My dream is to see that many segregated and local communities have access to basic medications and to set up local pharmacies, dispensary and first-aid service units in our local communities, where the health service providers are visible.”

Director of the SAB Foundation Bridgit Evans said Matwele was a part of the Tholoana Enterprise Programme.

“The SAB Foundation took in Phumza Matwele under the Tholoana Enterprise Programme, where her pharmaceutical business was earning approximately R7,000 a month and now earns about R100,000,” Evans said.

“Phumza was originally part of another corporate’s CSI project that set up a number of pharmacies in the area, however, the strategy sadly did not work for the other businesses. Credit to Phumza for her hard work and opening a second pharmacy. The SAB Foundation is exceptionally proud of her and her entrepreneurial journey, and looks forward to seeing her open more pharmacies in the future.”

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