Gwendolyn Mahuma-Madida, a visionary in South Africa’s infrastructure sector  — Lionesses of Africa

Lioness Weekender spoke to Gwen to learn more about her business, her vision for the future, and her insights on what it takes to build a successful business empire in a tough industry sector

When did your start your business?: 

MIH was formed in 2005 after my initial transaction of acquiring a stake in DSI-Mandrik Strata Support (Pty) Ltd in 2004, a company that used to manufacture roof support structures for the mining sector. It was during this time that I discovered the ample opportunities available in this sector. 

What does your company do?

MIH is an investment company. We focus solely in forming businesses or acquiring businesses that supply and provide services to the infrastructure space, namely manufacturing of complex, custom made sheet metal products through Remkor Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd, Trading of various types of steel through BBD Steel Suppliers (Pty)Ltd, and Manufacturing of Precast Concrete Products through Colossal Concrete Products (Pty)Ltd. We have 205 employees.

What inspired you to start your company?

In 2009 I had the opportunity of being on a board of a company called Capital Africa Steel (Pty) Ltd and during this time my vision of ensuring that MIH became a major player in this sector became a reality. I surrounded myself with the right strategic partners, mentors and learning opportunities to enable myself to make this vision a reality.

Why should anyone use your service or product?

MIH is special in that we actually get involved in our businesses. Over and above the Black female ownership that we bring to the table, which is a requirement in the South African economy, we are a hands-on partner with the relevant experience and broad sector network needed to be able to add tangible value to our various businesses. In terms of manufacturing, whether it be sheet metal products or precast concrete products, our focus is to be specialists in what we make and always only manufacture niche products with a high barrier of entry, as well as of strategic value to our targeted sectors.

Tell us a little about your team

MIH is run by myself and my brother, Tebogo Mahuma, however we have different partners in the three businesses that I mentioned above. BBD Steel was formed by myself and Monika Pretorius in 2012. She brought her legal background and very organized management skills to the team. In 2015 Tebogo, myself and 2 brothers Raffaele and Fabrizio La Monica started Remkor Manufacturing. They bring very strong technical manufacturing capabilities and experience to the team. Our most recent acquisition is Colossal Concrete Products where I work with a great team of entrepreneurs (Waheed Arai, Chris Klagsbrun and Mmapitso Kiewiet) who bring different skills to the team. I learnt through my MIH journey that strong mutually beneficial partnerships go a long way in building an empire which is what I am hoping to do.

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

I grew up in Ga-Rankuwa, a township outside Pretoria. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family that ran a chain of Dry Cleaning and laundry businesses. At some stage my parents had a hair salon, a butchery, and a sports shop. During the school holidays and weekends, I used to assist my mother by working at these shops. This is where I got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. I knew I wanted to be in business but it was only after my stint at DSI-Mandirk that the idea of MIH and the involvement in the infrastructure sector came about.

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

I would like to see MIH as a Pan African company. Africa is in need of development. What we offer is needed across this continent. Our inspiration is to do just that.

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

The interactions I have with the people I come across, the jobs we create as we grow, and the lives we are able to change with the social projects we get involved with, give me the most satisfaction.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?

Have faith in yourself and in your dreams. Success is not built overnight, but if you keep at it and not forget why you started in the first place, eventually it will pay off. It’s important to clearly understand your offering and what assistance is available out there because there is plenty.

To find out more about Mahuma Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, contact Gwen via email: or visit the company website:

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