As the founder and CEO of Phehla Umsebenzi, Gwen Nkosi is both diligent in her construction company and committed to the profession. Gwen founded Phehla Umsebenzi after nearly 13 years in the fashion industry running her own clothing boutiques in five provinces throughout South Africa.
Prior to founding Phehla Umsebenzi, Gwen successfully ran ten clothing boutiques from 1993 to 2006 which catered to women and men of discerning taste in clothing. During studying Nursing Science majoring in Psychology at Wits, she traveled to Bangkok with the Anthropology department and came back with jeans to re-sale to fellow students. This led to her been nominated to go with the delegation to Hong Kong with the Department of Trade and Industry. This trip ushered to the formation of SAWEN. With the exposure to clothing, she had the opportunity of designing nurses’ uniforms, moving from the polyester to natural fiber uniforms.
During deliveries to the various clinics in Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, she became aware of the appalling conditions of the clinics and got involved in the designing and building of health care centers.
This steered Gwen to been more involved in the construction industry and founding her own construction company which employs 10 black females and 7 black males permanently. Her own interest in health guided her in focusing on building health facilities that would better equip the community in receiving the best health care in facilities that were safe and adequate in helping with the healing process.
Her love for construction made the formation of the company a priority and building more that would help communities. Phehla Umsebenzi has electrified correctional facilities, built affordable housing, medical facilities and student accommodation to mention a few projects that Phehla Umsebenzi has been involved in throughout South Africa.
Ever the avid entrepreneur, Gwen along with her family founded Nkosi Ceramic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nkosi Ceramic specializes in making handmade African Art Ceramics which depict the nature of Africa and the world.
Gwen has been married for 36 years to Simon Nkosi, a retired teacher. They have two children, the eldest who is a director in Phehla Umsebenzi and the youngest pursuing his interest in line with his studies that he did at the University of Shangdong, China. They have two young grandchildren.