AMH is an independent media house free from political ties or outside influence. We have four newspapers: The Zimbabwe Independent, a business weekly published every Friday, The Standard, a weekly published every Sunday, and Southern and NewsDay, our daily newspapers. Each has an online edition.

  • Marketing
  • Digital Marketing Manager: tmutambara@alphamedia.co.zw
  • Tel: (04) 771722/3
  • Online Advertising
  • Digital@alphamedia.co.zw
  • Web Development
  • jmanyenyere@alphamedia.co.zw

We changed the narrative: Ndhlukula

Divine Ndhlukula is the founder and Managing Director of DDNS Security Operations Ltd holding company for SECURICO Security Services

The founder and managing director of SECURICO and Zvikomborero Farms Divine Simbi-Ndhlukula says by stepping into a previously male-dominated space, they changed the narrative and perceptions of the security industry in Zimbabwe.

In her recently released book Entrepreneurial Success: Insights on Growing Business in a Fluid Economy, Ndhlukula narrated how it took her uniquely stubborn mindset to change the perceptions and stereotypes which existed within the country’s security landscape.

“Being a woman can be hard. Being a female business owner is even harder. Establishing a security company in what had been a male-dominated space seemed to be an insurmountable task. Even the workforce in the security sector was predominantly male, and clients often preferred them, perhaps assuming that they were stronger than women. It took a uniquely stubborn mindset to change all of that”(pp,19) reads the opening paragraph of the first chapter of the book.

A renowned philanthropist, educationist and women’s empowerment champion, and the first woman to successfully venture into the security sector, Ndhlukula is ecstatic that the entity she founded in a corner kitchen with just four employees back in 1998 now employs a total workforce of 4300 with a quarter of the staff being women.

Ndhlukula narrated how she was ridiculed and mocked when she conceived the idea of starting SECURICO.

It’s no surprise that I faced dismissive responses and scathing ridicule when I first started SECURICO. At that time it was a company with zero capital, no track record in the security industry, and a woman at the helm. To many, I was a punchline, and derisive whispers and laughter followed news of my audacious aspirations when they were shared. But what I did possess was a growth mindset–a belief that eventually propelled me to greatness. (pp.19)

She added “Prior to launching SECURICO, while conducting research, I approached a certain security company. The owner, a gentleman I had known from my past, seemed like a good port of call for an in-depth interview. When I shared my plan to start a security company, he burst into derisive laughter as if my ambitions were a joke. Though it was over two decades ago,I still vividly remember him saying Ambuya ava vati vanoda ku competer nesu (This woman says she wants to compete with us). He used Ambuya in a mocking tone, insinuating that a black woman could not penetrate this male-dominated industry. Nonetheless, his laughter was a waste of energy and time, as he no doubt later discovered. Little did he know at the time that the fire that burned within me was a fire that no amount of laughter could extinguish”(pp 22-23)

Ndhlukula also revealed that SECURICO was not her first business but in fact a subsequent result of a prior series of intra and entrepreneurial attempts and recounted how her first attempt in full-time entrepreneurship at Zvikomborero Farms suffered a stillbirth sending her back to full-time employment following a terrible drought spell in 1992.

“Contrary to what many think, SECURICO was not my first business. I had developed an interest in entrepreneurship at the tender age of twelve when I had found clarity of purpose on what future path I was going to take in life. I would later side hustle in various businesses I would work in, from selling clothes to my work colleagues to running canteens in certain companies located in the industrial areas of Harare. My experiences as an accounting officer at the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), as well as at the then Intermarket(formerly Southampton now ZB Life Assurance) eventually propelled my interest towards full-time entrepreneurship.

It is against this background that, in 1992, I naively attempted crop farming in agricultural area ecologically suited to cattle ranching. During that time, a terrible drought cast a spell of doom over my hopes and dreams for this venture and sent me back to employment before my eventual return to full-time entrepreneurship when I started SECURICO in 1998”–(pp.15-16)

The book essentially lays out 10 nuggets which could result in success if adopted by aspiring entrepreneurs and anyone with an interest in business.

She emphasises the importance of cultivating a positive mindset which enabled her to penetrate what was a previously male-dominated space despite encountering societal ridicule and criticism and challenges from both intra and entrepreneurs.

“Wake up, start living! Embrace your purpose, harness the boundless potential of your imagination, and embark on your entrepreneurial journey with the conviction that you can be the architect of positive change both in own life and in the world…Success after all is not a destination, it’s a journey–one that begins with a single step, fuelled by the power of the mind, and guided by the light of purpose”–(pp.41)

Recently inducted into the Hall of Fame 2023 by the world’s only global business excellence membership body the Business Excellence(BEX) Institute in Ireland, Ndhlukula has won multiple accolades including being one of Forbes Most Influential Women in Africa,EY World Entrepreneurship Award in the Exceptional Category amongst others.

She says a portion of the profits generated from the sales of the book would be donated to projects delivering and supporting education for the marginalised and vulnerable in Zimbabwe.

About The Book

In her debut as an author, Divine Simbi-Ndhlukula (PhD) provides ten powerful success insights for budding and established entrepreneurs alike. Zeroing in on her life’s work in her business enterprises at SECURICO and Zvikomborero Farms, she distils business administration concepts into everyday life principles that we all can admit we already know but fail to leverage on.

In particular women in business will find Divine’s frank approach to the peculiar constraints that women must overcome to balance the scales in business and society both encouraging and enlightening.

In this book, she reminds us all that if we dare to step up and step out in order to solve the challenges and problems society faces today, we will find, through good times and bad, wins and losses–fortunate favours the brave.

The book is now available globally on Amazon, in bookshops, distribution centres, and locations across the country, www.divinesimbindhlukula.co.zw, as well as Batanai Gardens in Harare or contact +263 776 030 949 or +263 719 211 013.

This is the final part of a two-part series featuring Divine Simbi-Ndhlukula’s recently released book “Entrepreneurial Success: Insights on Growing Business in a Fluid Economy”.

*Fungayi Antony Sox is a seasoned communications and publishing specialist who has advised and consulted for CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, youth-focused start-ups, businesses, several institutions, and organisations. For feedback contact him on 0776 030 949, connect with him on LinkedIn on Fungayi Antony Sox, or write to him on fungayisox@gmail.com

Related Topics