Inspirational guesthouse owner back in business

Meisie Nkosi started her successful guesthouse from scratch.
Meisie Nkosi started her successful guesthouse from scratch.
Image: Meisie Nkosi.

With travel in South Africa allowed again, guesthouse owner Meisie Nkosi is ready to reach for the stars.

Nkosi is an award-winning hospitality entrepreneur who has gone from selling eggs and sweets on the street, to running her own guesthouse and becoming a motivational speaker.

She is the owner of the luxury Bella Bonni Guest House in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga. She built her business from scratch and now employs six people. 

“From childhood, I was always interested in selling things. I would use change to buy sweets and sell them at school or take boiled eggs my grandmother made and sell them. That was the start of my entrepreneurial journey.”

Nkosi studied education and worked as a teacher, but continued to nurture her talent for selling. After she met her husband, she stopped teaching and began to look at starting her own business. 

“One of my friends showed me a house that was for sale and I thought I could turn it into a guesthouse. I approached the banks for funding, without really knowing how to go about it. I didn’t even know what a business plan was,” says Nkosi. 

With help from the Small Enterprise Development Agency, Nkosi created a semi-completed business plan and eventually received funding in 2006.

Despite eMalahleni not being a tourist destination, Nkosi made a success of her business and became an inspiration to her community. Her efforts saw her being awarded the Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2016, and she also became a motivational speaker. 

Nkosi says that her success comes from hard work, determination and courage.  

“One of the most important pieces of advice for young people is that you can start small. Just like I did. Find your passion and work hard to turn it into a living. Connect with people through networking and be respectful to everyone you meet – you never know what they might be able to offer you.”

Being in the hospitality industry has not been an easy journey, especially during the coronavirus. But, with domestic tourism now open, Nkosi is ready to continue her journey to the top. 

“I have opened a small bed and breakfast in Pretoria and am also applying for a tender to open a hotel. My goal is to become the owner of a prestigious hotel,” says Nkosi.  

-This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.

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