Botlhale Tshetlo is the brainchild behind Hairtural™ Studio, a natural hair salon based in Bryanston, Johannesburg.
Tshetlo studied economics at the University of the Free State and went to work at the Reserve Bank and then later brokerage firm NOAH Capital Markets.
In 2008 she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body.
Her illness brought about many challenges for her at work and in late 2009 she put her career in the finance industry on hold in order to get well at home.
2008 and 2009 was a real challenge for me physically, because my joints were swollen and stiff and I had a lot of fatigue. Simple things like brushing my teeth was painful.— Botlhale Tshetlo, Founder & Managing Director at Hairtural™ Studio
That is when she rediscovered her creativity and entrepreneurial flare, starting out with a baking business - Cake Couture - before moving on to natural crowns.
When she gave a TED Talk on random acts of kindness in Soweto in 2013, Tshetlo decided to let free her afro and vowed to start understanding her hair better.
That is how Hairtural™ Studio was conceived, a venture which she says has granted her self-expression.
The salon does not use heat or combs during the hair treatment process and Tshetlo created her own Hairtural™ product range for adults and kids.
She explains that her hair studio removes the 'trauma' associated with salon visits, with gentle stylists and nourishing products.
Tshetlo says her illness was a blessing in disguise, and allowed her to listen to her body, find herself and her passion again.
Hairtural™ is looking to expand to other branches and take the brand across the country.
Take a listen to Botlhale Tshetlo share her journey:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : How Hairtural studio nurtures natural crowns with love and tenderness