NTOMBAM: helping girls stay in school

By Busisiwe Mdlankomo-Mqamelo

Babalwa Mbuku, affectionately known as “Nopotjie” by her mother Zukiswa “Grazu” Mbuku and dad, Bishop Mbuku, has had a beautiful Christian upbringing. Her encouraging tagline “Kuyaqaleleka” is a voice that reverberates in most people that are close to her circles.

Mbuku is the founder of a self-made enterprise called “Ntombam Group”. It boasts a development foundation that manufactures SABS Certified sanitary towels, clothing and also does motivational speaking. Her passion especially lies in “keeping a girl child in school”.  

“I cannot sleep when there are children out there that do not go to school because they are on their menstrual period. Girl children are the pillars of homes; having them where they belong, encouraged to be better and perform at their optimum, is something I will forever strive for,” she said.  

Mbuku has visited many schools around the Eastern Cape advocating “embracing womanhood”. The children find it very easy to speak to her about their first menstrual period as well as general “girl challenges”. She takes an active part in their growth and development including hosting various girl camps to spend as much time as possible teaching them who and what they are to themselves.

Boys are also part of this important journey of teenage development. They too are involved in her fun, inspirational sessions when schools are visited.

Various companies, municipality districts and special individuals have supported the cause by buying her Ntombam sanitary towels to donate to disadvantaged community school children. The gratitude she shows to the donors is humbling and so is the response that comes from beneficiaries.

Mbuku’s brothers and sister are all part of the Ntombam Group. She said they are the perfect advisors and shoulders to rejoice and cry on and she is grateful for their support.

Her latest pride is a newly formed factory at Fort Jackson, near Mdantsane, where her brand of sanitary towels are manufactured. Here she and her team also design and produce the Ntombam Clothing Brand, as well as other toiletries.

This strong, versatile, courageous and humourous iron lady, brings a breath of fresh perspective to women at large and business owners in particular.

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