Handling Her Business

Mapholo Ratau exemplifies what’s attainable when hard work, passion and preparation converge. She strives for the best and uses her passion to achieve her goals.

Mapholo Ratau (49) grew up in Limpopo province, Burgersfort, a village called Moroke. She grew up in a family that owned and operated a Poultry Farm business.

Mapholo is the founder, managing director and designer of Ledikana Creations Pty Ltd which she founded in 2014. Before her entrepreneur career in the fashion industry, Mapholo worked in the corporate finance industry. Currently she still is a JSE Approved Executive with nearly 20 years of Corporate Finance and Sponsor Advisory service experience.

Inspired by the family business….The lessons she learned from her father inspired her a lot. He used to encourage them to work almost all the time in the family business and to create anything artistic using their hands he then sold their art work to a lady by the name of Mrs Viljoen whom was one of her father’s suppliers.  That’s how she learned to have money all the time.

Fear of Poverty motivates her….Her Father used to say to her“if you do not work hard in life you will suffer. You will see your friends succeeding and you will be left behind”.  That used to scare her because she did not want to be poor and suffer in life. Those proverbs still scares her and make her wake up at 4:00 in the morning and work hard.  The values she learned from her upbringing presented her with the opportunities to do many things she loved and create a great living for her family.

Qualifications obtained after matric….She studied a Bachelor of Arts at the University of the North (Limpopo) and an Honours degree, Post Graduate Diploma in Company Law at the University of Johannesburg.She also studied JSE Sponsor Development Programme at Wits Business School which qualified her to become a JSE Approved Executive in Corporate Finance.

What she loved about the corporate space….She loved advising JSE listed Companies on how to interpret and apply the JSE Listings Requirements and Corporate Governance in their corporate transactions and how to comply with the rules. She loves interacting with the board of directors from the listed companies and saw herself becoming one of them one day.

Leaving the corporate world to focus on Ledikana….Mapholo used to work for a large Finance Company. In 2014, the Company was undergoing restructuring shedecided to take a leap of faith and give her full focus on Ledikana, that’swhen she left her job in Corporate Financepermanently.  In December 2014, she opened her first shop at OR Tambo International Airport, Terminal B Domestic Departures. In 2015, her second one was at Maboneng which she closed within the first three months. It didn’t work forher.  In 2016, she began looking for another shop in Johannesburg and it didn’t take much to convince her that Melrose Arch was the best place for Ledikana.

How Ledikana Creations was established….The love of hats!  Her passion started Ledikana.In 2011; she went to her Aunt’s funeral in Limpopo. Everyone admired the hat she was wearing, so she took orders even though she was not selling hats at that time. By Thursday the following week shehad sold 10 hats and that was the start of her business, Ledikana. She started designing the hats and making them while she was still working full time and sold them at the Rosebank Sunday Market and at work, church and everywhere else from the boot of her car. The business grew from hats to Achaar, Chillies etc. Her friends used to call me a General Dealer and it never used to bother her.

Financing Ledikana Creations…. It started when she was working fulltime.She used her personal savings to finance Ledikana creations because she did not have a Bank loan .Everything was done in phases that is why she did not feel the financial strain. It cost her about R100 000.00 in total to start.

The meaning behind the name Ledikana…..Ledikana is her late mom’s name. Her name was Boledi and in her village they used to call her Ledikana because of her love for beautiful things, fashion and hats. They associated her with a little madam lady who loved fashion and always wearing hats.  She used to love polka dots on clothes. Hence Ledikana’s Logo is polka dotted.

Manufacturing and retailing of contemporary African clothing and accessories….Mapholo’s business model was and is to sell ready to wear Contemporary African garments for locals and tourists in convenient locations.She hated having to look for someone to make her an outfit every time there was an occasion. She saw a gap and decided to operate like Edgars and Woolworths but making her own clothes; celebrating South African Cultures. She started with one seamstress and the rest is history.

My business caters for….. Ledikana is a high premium brand that specializes in the manufacturing and retailing of contemporary African clothing (Seshweshwe print, leather and beaded clothing) and accessories targeted at tourists, business travellers, leisure, visitors, employees, tenants and corporations in and around OR Tambo International Airport and the Melrose Arch precinct where her retail businesses operate.  Ledikana caters for male, female and kiddies market.

Becoming successful ….It is through hard work she bears the pain of working extra hours

Her employees….Ledikana Creations hasabout 12 full time employees and the rest are casual employees;there arealso independent artisans and seamstresses across South Africa. Ledikana creations empowers the skills of women across South Africa, mostly sole breadwinners and pensioners from the rural areas of Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Kwa Zulu Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng.

Leadership style….She is very dynamic and open minded and likes to involve her employees in her business by giving them roles that will empower them.

Doing what she loves ….She loves what she is doing and feels a sense of satisfaction from her work. To her that is success.  She believes that nothing is impossible when you do something that you love and set achievable goals for yourself regardless of what others think about your goals.

New projects……Mapholo recently launched a new range called Babina Noko, inspired by Bapedi Culture. Noko (porcupine) is a Totem for the Bapedi tribe across South Africa Lesotho and Botswana. One of their kings is King Sekhukhune the 1st. Babina Noko consists of a range of colourful blankets, cosmetic bags and corporate gifts. The print is a celebration of my heritage, culture and tradition. Shedesigned this range to honour and celebrates this great nation.  Porcupine quills symbolise the rich heritage of the Bapedi nation.


Website: www.ledikana.com

Instagram: @ledikana

Facebook: Ledikana