Mbali Mahlangu is passionate about seeing other women grow. She’s a speaker. She’s a vlogger. She’s an entrepreneur. She’s also the daughter of late Ndebele King Mayitjha the third and late Ndebele Queen Gabisile Mabona.
Her childhood was blissful. She grew up as one of 20 children, surrounded by family.
“Every day was an adventure. I grew up in a village – my homeland, Kwandebele. We spent our afternoons and weekends climbing tall trees, running around playing hide and seek. We had so much space. Our play time included rabbit and pigeon hunting, building mud houses, and making fires and cooking food in tins. There was never a dull moment.”
At just the innocent age of seven, she lost her mother. She describes it as the greatest loss she could have had, although it wasn’t until boarding school that she felt the loss most acutely.
“All the girls at boarding school would be speaking about their mothers. I needed guidance that could only come from a mother. I then realised that something was missing. I began feeling like I do not belong anywhere and that’s when I started having anxiety attacks and suicidal thoughts.”
Although moving to Cape Town didn’t make her pain ease, it was the start of a new journey for her.
“When I moved to Cape Town in 2011 I was hurting and wounded and needed a lot of TLC and healing. I am just so grateful that I have been able to get the help I needed.”
Mbali joined a church in 2011 where she gave her life to the Lord, and her suicidal thoughts became a thing of the past. She also obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry at Christian Family Church International Bible College.
“Before my father died, he married again and thankfully my journey began with the woman who I call mom.”
Mbali’s father died when she was 11 years old. “He was a strong leader and a provider. However, his death led me to who I was always meant to be and into my purpose. There is a reason for everything!”
Mbali explains how her different dreams collided as time went on: “I jumped from one thing to the other as one does when they are young, but mostly I wanted to become an actress and or a TV presenter. At some point, I also wanted to be a teacher and at another point, I wanted to become a doctor. Today it’s beautiful to see how all these things are parts of my purpose but just in a different way.”
In 2015 she founded Isiba Le Africa and Isiba Moments.
“Today I own two businesses: the one helps women to start and grow their own businesses and through the other we create, manage and promote bespoke weddings, events and conferences.”
She has shared a stage with the likes of Derek Hanekom, the Minister of Tourism. She has also spoken for reputable organisations such as the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry and Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Mbali explains where her inspiration comes from. “My inspiration is women who know who they are and who live with purpose and act in ways that will leave a legacy. I’m inspired by people who are kind. I am also really inspired by my mother Lizzy Mabona, who is the definition of a hard working woman. My sister Fikile Mahlangu, she has such a big heart. And of course trailblazers like Basetsana Khumalo and Khanyi Dhlomo, they started out like all of us and have done so well, they are amazing examples for people who are turning our country around.”
When asked what motivates her, she had this to say: “Purpose! Ever since I discovered who I am and why I am alive it’s like a flame was lit and it’s growing stronger, compelling me to do. The more I do, the more impact I have on my life and the lives of others and that feeling is unmatched. I live every day knowing I’m changing someone’s life.”
Where does Mbali see herself in the next five years? She feels inner peace and health is far more important than accomplishments. “I want to remain spiritually, emotionally and mentally healthy, I feel that’s important because what is the point of being somewhere if there is a lack or problem in those areas of my life. Also, I see myself with a growing personal brand. I see my businesses having grown, no longer being dependent on me; in five years time I would like to have them maturing and functioning well-oiled.”
Mbali’s goal: “I have a mission to visit all the 54 countries of Africa by the time I’m 30, so in 5 years I should only have a few countries left to still visit.”
She ends off with advice for young women wanting to pursue their dreams (advice relevant to young men too!): “Sweet girl I wish you would hear me and hear me good! Find out who you are and what your purpose is and you will see how so many things will begin to make sense and fall into place. And once you have found this out, live it all up! You are valuable and worth so much!”