Published on South Africa Today 

Two women.  One, founder of an NPC that helps children and youth in the community of Villa Lisa and surrounding areas by providing basic needs such as education, mentorship, food and so much more.  Another, an entrepreneur and founder of one of South Africa’s top 10 interior design companies, which manufactures and supplies home décor as well as durable, eco-friendly furniture in aim of contributing to the quest to curb the rise in environmental degradation. 

Their paths seemed very different and far apart, but they would cross in such an incredible manner.

Londiwe Muleba, Canaan Organisation  

When Londiwe Muleba set up Canaan Organisation, she faced some of the harsh realities of the children she was serving. Children in need of basic necessities. Through perseverance and dedication to serve the community, she realised that there were others who were just as passionate about helping those in need as she was. Among them, just 50km away from Canaan, in Bryanston, another woman shared this common goal, and she did so through her company, DIYgirls INTERIOR. 

Vinette Diab Nicholls is the founder of DIYgirls, an interior design company with zero waste at the core of the production of their furniture and soft furnishings. The company repurposes off-cut fabric that most companies discard as waste, by sewing it together to make quilted blankets of the highest quality for organisations that serve the less fortunate. In 2021 alone, DIYgirls donated more than 200 of these blankets. One of their beneficiaries happened to be Canaan Organisation, run by Muleba. And with that, More than 60 children of Canaan were now able to brave the cold with warm, colourful quilted blankets.

Vinette Diab Nicholls, DIYgirls INTERIOR

What Londiwe and Vinette did not know however, is that their paths would cross again. This year, they are both finalists for the globally recognised Woman of Stature Awards under the Women in Entrepreneurship and Women in Community categories, respectively. To be considered for the awards, every woman needs to significantly contribute to the society and the economy by being resourceful and pioneering within the nominated category. It is easy to see why Diab Nicholls and Muleba are counted amongst other incredible and powerful women, as finalists for these awards.

“At DIYgirls, we are passionate about giving back to our community, and we realise that our people and environment are equally as important in order to ensure a sustainable future.”

Being a philanthropist at heart, Vinette always knew that hers was not a business that was only about profits, but one that was also centered around adding value to the community. With that, she set out to work with women who had admirable talent, but no resources to get them started. Today, most of the products at DIYgirls are hand-made by women from the community. They are not regular products that you get from your local retail store, but rather well thought-through, bespoke products that are designed by caring hands. Hands of ordinary women who, with their passion and creativity, continue to create exceptional couches, scatter cushions, beds, headboards and other home decor products. 

"Ours is a company that was born on the belief that women are powerful; powerful to face and conquer; powerful to create and transform; and powerful to collaborate and bring a positive transformation to society," says Vinette passionately, with pride.

Betty Tshuma, DIYgirls INTERIOR

“I have been running Canaan Organisation for 4 years now,” says Londiwe. “It is quite validating to be counted amongst the greatest women for these awards, and to be recognised for the input and positive change I have added in my community.”

The Woman of Stature Awards 2022 are taking place on the 12th of March, at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways, Johannesburg.

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Photos/video: LVD Brand Brilliance