Breaking barriers and excelling in the construction Industry -Mhani Builder

Carob Magazine talks to Hlayisani Sono, the CEO and founder of Mhani Builder construction. The entrepreneur, mother and trailblazer is nominated for the Emerge Africa Awards for her phenomenal contribution in the construction Industry. She shares with us her journey to building her business and how she has been able to navigate the challenges that come with it.

Carob Magazine Africa: Please tell us about yourself, in your own words, who is Hlayisani Sono?

Hlayisani Sono: My name is Hlayisani Sono, a 34 year old mother and sister. Born in the dusty streets of Valdezia village outside Makhado. I matriculated in 2008, but I didn’t get chance to further my studies, I was fortunate to get an opportunity to do an apprenticeship in bricklaying. I am a Christian, humble and talkative woman. I am a real definition of a hustler. I  lost my parents at a young age, I also lost my daughter and my younger brother which left me with no choice but to be strong.

Carob Magazine Africa: When did you know that you wanted go into construction?
Hlayisani Sono: To be honest with you I didn’t know that one day I will be in construction or be a bricklayer… But life happened. In 2018 a service provider come to our village and church offering a learnership in bricklaying. I was not qualified to be part of the program but my church leaders and the councillor told them about my situation. Then they accepted me. While I was busy studying it was hard for me because theory was not my thing as I didn’t do my math and physics at school. I enjoyed myself more when we were on-site for practical’s, that’s where my journey in the construction Industry started.

Carob Magazine Africa: What inspired the name Mhani Builder?
Hlayisani Sono:  I got it when I did my first TV interview with a show called Ngula Ya vutivi. My story became very popular and so was my trademark Mhani Builder.

Carob Magazine Africa: What services does your company offer? Kindly list them here.

Hlayisani Sono: Mhami builder construction and projects offers
General building
Commercial and Residential buildings
Carob Magazine Africa: Do you think there is enough support from the government for women in construction? If not what needs to change or improve?

Hlayisani Sono: I  can say no, and yes, because is hard to get those big tenders as women in a male dominated industry but again as we are try to excel and make it fashionable so that they can recognize us and give us space. As the president announced that we as women in business we must get that 35%procurement I think when time goes on they will cater for us all.
Carob Magazine Africa: What has been your most exciting project that you have worked on since the inception of Mhani Builder?

Hlayosani Sono: It was when I was part of the BRICKLAYERS when we were building the Nkuna kraal
I went there as a bricklayer. It was for the first time being in the commercial building a huge building. That’s where I learn more experience in running business because the person who got the project he share every detail with me about being a Sub contractor.
Carob Magazine Africa: What has been the most challenging thing about being a woman in the construction industry?

Hlayisani Sono: The most challenging thing is that when I work with men they always discourage and undermine me saying can’t do it. I am just wasting my time. Because construction is for them not me.

Carob Magazine Africa: You were honored as one of the 2021 Sunday World women heroics, would you like to share with Carob Magazine Africa how was that whole experience?

Hlayisani Sono: That was my first huge or big accomplishment I got and the recognition. It was a very happy moment for me to see that there are people who recognize my hustle and my dedication in the male industry.

Carob Magazine Africa: Where do you see Manila Builder 10 years from now?

Hlayisani Sono:  I want Mhani Builder construction and projects to  be all over creating jobs for unemployed, putting food on the table for those who don’t have because I was help to be where I am to they so I have to pay back by being employing people.

Carob Magazine Africa: Please share with our readers what keeps you motivated to do better every day as a business woman?

Hlayisani Sono: By seeing those who are far those who are owing construction companies especially women. It kept me moving and inspired.  And they motivate me so much to do better and also to hustle and work hard for myself and creating job opportunities even though it’s hard but I keep on moving.
“And if I can do it you too can do it”

By Carob

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