Angela Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
A COWDRAY Park woman has launched a collection of organic skin care products using Umsuzwane/Zumbani as her key ingredient.
Ms Princess Noma Siziba a Bulawayo novelist and a publisher has innovated a range of skin care products, which include soaps, toners, face masks under the production name ‘Indalo’, a Ndebele name for ‘natural creation’.
The 35-year-old single mother of one, a girl child whom she had at the age of 19, believes that the teenage pregnancy setback is one of the main reasons why she remained strong and patient with her innovations.
Umsuzwane or Zumbani is a plant, scientifically known as Lippia javanica which grows in many parts of Zimbabwe.
It recently made headlines with the advent of Covid-19 after some scientists listed it as one of the few natural herbs rich in antioxidants and a useful ingredient in fighting the coronavirus and flu.
Zumbani has been proven to be nutraceutical because of its several beneficial nutritional and medicinal components which qualify the plant to be treated as both food and medicine.
Ms Siziba launched her products at her home during an intimate ceremony with her family and friends on Saturday.
She chose to use the plant because of its scientifically proven benefits and for its availability and accessibility.
She mixes the plant with other products that include shea butter, plant extracts and essential oils.
“My key ingredient is Zumbani and I chose it because it has been proven to be richer in properties than rooibos tea that we normally import and it is available in abundance,” she said.
Ms Siziba’s journey on organic skin products began in 2019 and was fueled by the attention that was channeled towards Zumbani as a remedy for Coronavirus.
“It all started with an article that I saw online. It was by one Zimbabwean scientist that explained the benefits of the native plant and that gave me ideas as I compared it to other edible herbs that are used in skin products.
“I realised that the plant was richer than many of them so I engaged specialists and inquired about my idea then a series of researches followed and in 2020, I made my first products and gave them out for trials,” she said.
She also said the feedback she got from those who tried the products boosted her confidence in her products and they also worked for her skin.
“Growing up, I suffered from acne from the age of 13 through to my adulthood and I tried a number of chemical products and some organic creams but none worked to my satisfaction,” she said.
“I started by making concoctions for myself using Zumbani and I liked the results so I thought it would be good to produce products so that other people out there can get skin care solutions that are natural.”
Due to limited resources, Ms Siziba works from her home in Cowdray Park and relies on her rural home for the supply of raw materials.
“My mom and other family members bring me the plant whenever they go home and every time, I go to our rural home I make sure that I bring some although sometimes I rely on local supermarkets that sell the plant,” she said.
Indalo skin care production is currently personally funded by Ms Siziba who hopes that in the near future she will be able to apply for loans or get investors.
The production involves grinding and using electric equipment like mixers and scales.
“Since the product was not yet on the market, I used my personal savings to finance the production and I am currently using equipment that allows me to produce limited quantities,” she said.
“Just like any other entrepreneur, I wish to grow my business and supply both regional and international markets through partnering with other people. I am taking a step at a time and I believe that entrepreneurship is the poverty escape plan for any Zimbabwean.”