Kotie Botha was the co-founder of the South African Council for Business Women (SACBW) and was part of a formidable business team with her daughter, Theresa van der Merwe.  They owned “House of Chic”,  a glamorous fashion house, in Alberton City.

The business offered designer clothes and a variety of accessories like hats, shoes, and jewelry. They also participated in international fashion shows with some of their designer clothing. “House of Chic” was also extremely involved in the community.

Kotie received the “Industry Entrepreneur” of the Year award from the then Afrikaanse Sakevroue Klub in 1987. She also served on the boards of companies like Singer, and the Johannesburg and Alberton Business Chambers. Mrs. Marike de Klerk, the former first lady, was the Patron of the Council at that time and was awarded Kotie the “Golden Business Woman” award in 1992.

Kotie held a function at the former RAU (now UJ)  in 1992, which attracted top speakers from across the country. One of the female speakers voiced her opinion about the fact that high-rise buildings did not provide female restrooms on top floors, as the belief was that women would never make it to leadership positions anyway.

Theresa learned a lot from her mother and was suitably prepared to follow in her mother’s footsteps when she became president of the SACBW in 1996. She was a trained educator and used her business skills to establish knitting schools nationally. She also published a book on fashion knitwear- this became a workbook for a course she taught. Her Chic-knitting patterns hardcover books were also published in English and distributed internationally.

In 1993, George Huysamer from the “Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (AHI),” which is now the Small Business Institute (SBI), approached the National Council of Business Women to lead one of the four talking points at one of their congresses. Theresa van der Merwe was selected by the Council and she made us proud by delivering an outstanding speech on the topic of entrepreneurship.



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