A second generation entrepreneur, Thando Maisela’s journey has evolved as she’s grown in mastery of self. A property investor, founder and owner of a company called naMaisela, Thando is building a property portfolio with the aim of building it into a property fund. This is some of what she shared with Matoyana Media during her Warrior Women interview:
Hi Thando, thanks for joining us – tell us a bit about yourself?
“I’m living my life compelled by the universe to fulfil what the self desires. I define “self” as the “soul” and my soul desires for me to be the best version of myself. This has been a long journey and I’ve come to understand I’m a warrior because I go through this process every day.
I’d love to read a quote by Imam al-Ghazali, ‘Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my own soul.’ I find I’m a warrior because I master my soul every day and I have practices to help me introspect and hold myself accountable. I listen to my soul when it speaks and it compels me to do something. I rise up and meet it, I don’t run from it. I’ve learned to embrace it and have enthralled myself in the process of meeting it.”
What makes you a warrior woman?
“I see myself as a multi-faceted warrior and everything in my life is always in 3D or in prisms of a triangle. The first is that I’m a pathfinder. I go where most people dare not to go. I find that so rewarding and I’m usually led there because self compels me to walk a specific path. Sometimes you might not understand it, but once the lessons, skills and knowledge are acquired I become grateful to have walked that path.
The second part of the prism is that I’m a signpost. I don’t just walk my path for the sake of walking it or to be compelled to walk it and have these lessons. I also share with those who come after me. A pathfinder shines a light on the path for those that follow. So if I can make the travel less tiresome or burdensome for people coming in after me, or equip them so they can go further than me, then so be it.
The third part of the prism of being a multi-faceted warrior is being an affirmer. I’ve learned to sit down and I confer with the self, I’ve learnt to listen to self when it speaks. For example, when I have strong reactions to things and people, it would come across as fear until I was taught that when my solar plexus speaks, that’s usually the nerve centre. This is the body’s second brain or your gut. I’ve learned to channel through the fear and realise that that is basically my solar plexus, which is the wisdom chakra. So I’m an affirmer in that, when I listen to other people’s stories, I remind them to listen to themselves and to trust that their self is speaking to them.”
Tell us about your biggest battle?
“My biggest battle has been two parts. The first one has been the mastery of self and embracing wholeheartedly who I am. So the biggest challenge has been, ‘to thy self be true’. There may be moments where it seems counterintuitive, but you need to trust your journey, you need to trust the path that you’re on.
And the second part is in itself acceptance. I’ve come to realise that when you stand for a principle, that’s when you realise what a principle means to you. I have learned that I stood for my truth and I fought for my voice to be heard. Fighting can also be done in the form of harnessing your feminine energy or what we call your feminine strength or the feminine warrior in you – and that is called silence.
It’s so easy to be strong and to be a warrior when you are physically strong. When people encounter you they feel like they are hitting a wall because that strength is there and you exude it. But it’s another thing to harness the energy of quiet, of silence, even though everything in you may want to scream. But you decide to use silence because in time, everything will be answered.”
Any tips or tools that a warrior women can use?
“I’ve identified characteristics and tools along the way – one of them is (as they always say on the airplane) secure your oxygen mask first. Most of the time we want to fight, we want to be brave but we don’t secure our own oxygen mask. This is especially true for women because we replenish everyone around us, but we forget to refill our cup. Warrior women are always replenishing others but they need to refill their cup first.
I’ve found my specific tool of replenishing is silence. Silence is the most beautiful gift you can give yourself. So whether it is couch surfing for a day or to begin your day in mediation, or pray or hit the treadmill, do whatever it is that allows that stillness to overcome you. You can’t get up and pick up that sword if you are not rested, if you are not replenished.
The second thing is more of a characteristic, it is resilience.
Resilience means even when the going gets tough, you don’t stop. I’ll never forget the Winston Churchill quote, ‘When you’re going through hell, keep going.’ It’s okay to take a pause break but if you completely stop the danger is you will never get back up. The beauty of life is that nothing lasts forever; everything has a start or an ending which is why you need to keep moving because sooner or later you would have gone through that storm. This quote says it all, ‘Fate whispered to the woman, you’ll never survive the storm and she whispered back, I AM the storm.’ So that’s what I mean by resilience. Also, to say that being brave or being a warrior is not the absence of fear; it is doing it in spite of the fear.”
What does it take to be a warrior woman?
“There are two things – warriors are inherently givers, because you cannot be a warrior without giving. You’re fighting not only for yourself, but something bigger than you – for other people. Inherently that’s what women do. But when you do that, I think you forget one basic principle, how to receive. We don’t know how to receive – whether it is a compliment, whether it is kindness or most importantly, love. But in receiving you grow stronger – so please, please, whatever you get gifted, receive it. Don’t scorn it, and don’t think I’m above it – receive it.
The second thing about being a warrior woman is that they don’t set boundaries – it is mandatory for you to stay a healthy and sane warrior – to have boundaries and enforce them unapologetic ally. How else are you going to go about the job of being the warrior? You know, kicking asses, doing what you need to do and slaying all those dragons. One of the quintessential things of being a warrior is mastery of self and secondly setting up boundaries to ensure that self remains sane and happy.
Also – live your truth. At the end of the day the longest relationship you’re going to have is the one with yourself. So if you’re going to experience any discomforts, let it be because you lived your truth. There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable for that is not even meaningful to you. I can endure all, as long as my truth is being lived and heard, because it makes it all worthwhile. If you’re miserable and you’re not even living your truth – what’s the point?”
Which women warriors do you look up to?
“It cannot be one person, because so many people bring so many things to me. I started off thinking that it’s the triangle again but my soul is saying to me it’s more than that – so I have my first square. Of the four, three are women and one is a woman in training. The three are: My mother, my mom’s mother – Mama Getty and my father’s mother – Ma Ndlovu. These three women were independent and very strong willed. They married young and got married to much older men and I think their marriages survived because the older men allowed the women to be themselves and not put them in a “device” of what marriage is.
I ‘m everything that I am today because of the decisions they took in their time, wanting their children to have better lives. I have the strength because they taught me to have strength in the decisions they made and how they carried themselves and lived their lives.
Now the woman in training is one who makes me brave and that is my niece. I see a beautiful young spirit who is capable of so much. And I break down paths so that when she walks through them she is empowered in the knowledge that her aunt did it, so therefore who is she to fail?
And so, those are the four women who spur me on, three are the women who -when I sit down and look at myself in the mirror and ask, -‘Who am I to not be the best version of myself?’ and then I look at my niece and think every challenge I face I will master is so she may saunter through in the confidence that she is capable and she is worthy.”
What wonderful warrior women wisdom, many thanks Thando.
Nnedinma Ulanmo spoke to Matoyana Media about what it means to be a Warrior Woman: