Matshidiso Matlotlo Mabe: A social entrepreneur who seeks social justice

By: N.S.D

Capacity development has been defined as the process through which individuals, organisations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time. This is true of the work that 2018 Activator, Matshidiso Matlotlo Mabe, does. Except, her objective is to make sure that members of marginalised community achieve their personal objectives. Owner and founder of Capacity Developed, Mabe, says that she does the work that she does in a conscious attempt to pay it forward.

“One of the questions which I get asked as a social entrepreneur each time I pitch my ideas, send an email or hustle for some or other collaboration which could get me one step closer to the objectives of my enterprise; Capacity Developed; is WHY: why do you do what you do? Why does this matter? Why buy into your concepts?” Says Mabe in an attempt to explain her passion.

“I’ve found the answers to be in what I encountered five years ago when I was diagnosed with major depression. As depression would have it, I couldn’t cope with any aspect of my life and I struggled with anxiety. My mother- someone who didn’t know anything about depression then – went on a quest to find out anything and everything she could about depression awareness, the coping mechanism. She knocked on any door she could and made efforts to get me better. She couldn’t afford the expenses so she became my self-taught psychologist and helper,” continues Mabe.

Her initiative, Capacity Developed hopes to help those who need a helping hand the way Mabe once did. Officially registered in December 2018, the enterprise started to formally operate in the year 2019. Capacity Developed runs campaigns for members of marginalised groups such as black women, the LGBTQI+ community, and people living with disabilities. Whether the campaigns are for awareness or to information depends on whoever the enterprise is partnering with. Their partners change according to and depending on the nature of the campaign. So far, they’ve partnered with local organisations such as City Year (from the North of Johannesburg) and a girls’ school in Meyerton. These have been her biggest partnerships.

“Before Covid-19 I had already begun to form my path as an entrepreneur and had decided to purposefully and unapologetically follow my passion and path. I was granted a chance as a campaigner fellow and one of the key invitations of my experience was to “reimagine”; when you do so, you are able to establish your Ask and Why and then you know who the decision makers are. Reimagine your ideal world; how does it look like? For me, it is a society which fosters inclusivity, justice and acceptance for all marginalised groups. And through legal education, skills, and social justice awareness; I see this happening and that’s what Capacity Developed is”, explains Mabe.

Mabe says that she wants other people to get the chance that she got, that is why she is on a journey to empower and capacitate them. “I do this because I want others like me to access tools which will enable them to become their best truth. This is a journey not destination. Start with your WHY”, she adds.

The influence that Mabe and her team have had on the members of marginalised groups is one that cannot be measured. One is even tempted to say that everyone should be a social entrepreneur.

Capacity Developed is based in Johannesburg, other Activators can assist by coming to impart their facilitation skill to inform or raise awareness.

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