She constructed an empire by breaking down stereotypes


Divorce shattered Thato Mokhothu’s home after she left for university. With her mother slowly succumbing to a deepening depression, the burden fell on Mokhothu to fend for her family as the oldest of three siblings. Forced to find an income, she traded lecture halls for restaurant tables and steady pay. In the midst of this turmoil Mokhothu maintained the hope that she could build a life for herself.

Her positive attitude paid off when she was given a government job thanks to the knowledge of human resources that she’d earned prior to leaving university. Mokhothu worked hard, determined to prove herself and bring lasting relief to her family. By 24 she was able to purchase a house for her mother. Still she sought more from life, motivated by the desire to become her own boss. So in 2012 she opened a construction company in Bloemfontein. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Mokhothu’s resolve was put to the test. But by staying focused on her goals she was able to rise to success.

“I choose to see the positive side in every situation,” she says. “It’s not always easy, but it made me grow.” The ambitious businesswoman continues to challenge herself, refusing to settle into the comfort of her achievements to date. Most recently she branched out into the tyre-fitment industry, becoming the first woman to own a business of that nature in the Free State. Mokhothu’s path has seen her face one obstacle after another, but she has yet to face a barrier that she could not break down. She credits this to her drive, which stems from an unshakeable belief in herself. “I believe our nation is filled with women of excellence,” says Mokhothu. “Let’s support them.”