Working Women: #12 Sarah-Lee de Jongh

Sarah-lee de Jongh with one of her Millstone soap products at her home in Grahamstown.

Sarah-lee de Jongh with one of her Millstone soap products at her home in Grahamstown.

Alongside reading towards her degree in Art at Rhodes Sarah- Lee de Jongh also runs a successful soap business from home, but from her real home in McGregor on the West Coast.
She describes it as a “magical little village”, full of arty people, like her parents, who are both sculptors.
“I used to suffer from skin problems so I learned to make this all natural soap just for myself first,” said Sarah.
“When I was in grade eight I asked my parents for a piano and they said ‘ok let’s save the money’,” said Sarah. “I started making some soap to sell at the Saturday morning market, I only had a few fragrances but it just took off”.
Millstone Soap now has dozens of different fragrances and are stocked in several shops in McGregor, Cape Town and now Grahamstown. Sarah spends her holidays engrossed in making batches and batches of soap.
“Because soap is caustic for the first month so I have to have several sinks with chemicals, I can’t really make it in this digs,” said Sarah. She remembers one bad experience when a batch of soap literally exploded into foam.
Her inclination to save didn’t stop with the piano; she recently bought a car, assisted by the proceeds from her soap.

South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This August, GAP is publishing a micro-profile a day on women working in Grahamstown in 2015.

About the photographer: Jane Berg is a photojournalist working in Grahamstown and finishing her Bachelor of Journalism Degree at Rhodes University. She is the Media Officer for The Gender Action Project. You can see more of her work at and on her Facebook page.


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