Venishree Govender at her Sanctuary of Essence store she operated in the Ridge Shopping Centre, selling healthcare products. It has now been completely wiped out by looters. Picture: Supplied
Venishree Govender at her Sanctuary of Essence store she operated in the Ridge Shopping Centre, selling healthcare products. It has now been completely wiped out by looters. Picture: Supplied

It took 25 years to build but was destroyed in no time by looters

By Mervyn Naidoo Time of article published Jul 18, 2021

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It took her 25 years for a businesswoman to establish her outlet as a leading and trusted supplier of healthcare products, but in a few hours, it was crushed and destroyed by looters at the Ridge Shopping Mall in Shallcross, Durban.

Venishree Govender, owner of Sanctuary of Essence - store that sold leading brands of local and international healthcare products - says last Sunday’s wanton looting throughout the mall had ruined her financially.

Venishree Govender previously conquered the Machu Picchu in Peru and other mountains around the world. She has to now muster the same courage and determination once again to rebuild her business that was decimated by looters last week. Picture: Supplied

Govender was a firm believer that income generated from her business operations earned better returns when reinvested in stock items for her shelves instead of sitting in a bank account.

But when looters went on the rampage, Govender’s store at the mall, which has been operational since 2012, her fully stocked shelves were cleaned out and other fixtures, fittings and electronic equipment were taken.

She estimated the stock alone was worth in the region of R800 000.

“It has left me in a state of shock. I am heartsore and angry. Having a well stocked store was one of the secrets to my success. I am totally bankrupt now.”

Her disappointment was that fellow South Africans were responsible for the destruction.

Venishree Govender at her Sanctuary of Essence store she operated in the Ridge Shopping Centre, selling healthcare products, which has been completely wiped out by looters Picture: Supplied

Govender, who started her business from scratch, having overcome many hurdles and setbacks during her 25 years of operation, said she no longer had a source of income.

“My main concern is my two full-time staff members. Creditors are calling for payment, I have other business-related expenses and my own personal bills to pay.”

When word swirled that the Ridge was being looted, Govender believed her store would be spared because people needed to be familiar with the medicinal properties and purposes of the items she sold.

But her worst fears were confirmed the following day when she spoke to the mall’s management.

“It was a traumatic feeling,”

She said she feels like her clientele had been “let down” because many relied on her products and service as a therapist, and some medical doctors, who prescribe natural remedies, referred patients to her, but that was not possible now.

Govender, who has trekked over various mountains around the world, said she was determined to rise again in business and refused to be kept down by negative energy, and she prayed those responsible would be brought to book.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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