“I am Dithoriso Mmathuto Okeletso Mphuthi”, she laughs as she says her three names introducing herself. But Dithoriso, meaning giving praise, is her favourite one. Dithoriso was born to a Christian family, both her parents are pastors, and Christianity has always guided her since her childhood. She was raised by her grandmother in Duduza, in the East Rand, Johannesburg. She describes her childhood as a happy one.
Her life took an unexpected turn when she discovered that she was pregnant when she was doing her matric in 2010. Like many teenage mothers, Dithoriso was also scared, and felt she does not have enough support. This experience was one of the reasons that attracted her to Flourish.
Other than being a proud Flourish host and coach, Dithoriso has honours degree in social work from University of Fort Hare and a founder of Ubulumnko beAfrika, an art school for the youth of KwaThema, Duduza and Tsakane townships. She is a financial advisor at Old Mutual.
Having won the franchisee of the year awards in two consecutive years, Dithoriso has a lot to share with other franchisees on what makes her succeed. She says that recruiting as many moms as possible has worked for her. She mostly works with Selope Clinic and Thembelisha Clinic in KwaThema. Making connection with the clinic nurses has produced positive outcomes, but it does not all end with recruitment, ‘you’ve got to make sure that you keep your moms throughout the ten weeks’, she explains.
“The first visit is very important because that’s where you set the tone, and if you set the tone well, then moms are interested to come for the next visit and next visit,” she says. Dithoriso also follows up with moms when they missed the class for that week. “If my moms miss the class or something happens in their life, I make sure that I’m there for them, I call or text them to check if they are okay.”
Dithoriso has wonderful connections with moms coming to her groups. Tears pour down her face when she speaks about how happy she feels when her previous antenatal clients come back for postnatal visits after giving birth, and she sees them being proud of exclusively breastfeeding their babies. “When I see them exclusively breastfeeding I feel like I’ve done my work. And they stand up for themselves and explain to their family members about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding because they know the benefits,” she says.
Flourish has done a lot for me, she says. One of her clients advised her to apply to be a financial advisor at Old Mutual, where she is currently working now for more income. “It was actually one of my Flourish moms who told me about Old Mutual opportunity. She helped me apply and luckily I was called for an interview and got the job,” Dithoriso said.
Dithoriso has big dreams for her Flourish franchise. One day she wants to have a Flourish venue at her community where everyone would know ‘the house for mothers’. She feels that this dream is achievable because she now has another Flourish host in her community, who knew Flourish after attending Dithoriso’s antenatal and postnatal groups in 2019.
Dithoriso also received the Mamandla Fellowship, an opportunity that she earned when she moved to become a tier two franchisee in 2019. The Mamandla Fellowship is an Embrace initiative.
“It motivated me and broadened my understanding of how to support mothers and some of the issues that mothers are dealing with in South Africa, and what I can advocate and be an ambassador for.”
Dithoriso is now a coach, supporting other franchisees to grow their Flourish franchises and delivering quality classes. She believes that her skills as a Flourish franchisee herself will make it easy for her to relate to other franchisees, celebrate their victories and support them where there is a need.
Whether you know her a social worker, or a Flourish host, or the founder of Ubulumko beAfrika, Dithoriso is one person with big dreams for her community, and for women and youth.