You might think that it’s only men who ask: “What could possibly be in her handbag or purse?” This is usually followed by a defensive “only the essentials”. It is not only the male species that wonders, women also wonder too, though they probably won’t say or ask you upfront.

Firstly, you should know that it’s not all women who carry bags, with everything being so small and portable now, some prefer to stuff their “essentials” in their pockets; however, with those who do prefer to carry handbags, you’re sure to find them rocking small chic clutch bags or big statement bags that could possibly be carrying a dazed pet!

Because strange things always emerge out of a woman’s handbag, we decided to give Nawaal Nolwazi Mdluli, the Founding Editor of Essays of Africa magazine a surprise visit in her office to tell us what is in her bag.

First of all, Nawaal’s bag is stylish, beautiful and big!

As a businesswoman you would swear she carries diaries, business documents and a laptop. Of the 24 items we found in her mini-friend, it proved that this woman with pizazz is not only a corporate diva, but she doesn’t take life too seriously, most of the time.

These are the items that had Tatenda Zuva, my photographer wing-woman for the day, and I giggling in disbelief and shock.


  1. Book
  2. Wallet
  3. Make-up bag
  4. iPad
  5. iPhone
  6. Two bottles of water (Can a woman be this thirsty?)
  7. Wipes, a woman needs to keep clean.
  8. Sewing threads
  9. Her daughter’s pencil, book and a toy (it is not her bag only)
  10. 3 hand lotions (each for dry hands, fingers and nails maybe?)
  11. Massage Oil
  12. Facial tissues
  13. Sunglass case (not sure if it had sunglasses inside)
  14. Stapler
  15. Calculator
  16. Selfie stick (keeps up with trends)
  17. A comb (she has Afro hair)
  18. Eye drops
  19. Phone Charger
  20. Pens
  21. USB
  22. Safety pins (her mom always said a woman must always carry safety pins, but she doesn’t know why)
  23. Lip gloss

And last but not least…for rainy days

  1. A tampon

When asked why she has these in her bag, she replied quickly by saying “Because I need them”. How does one need sewing threads with no needle?

Nawaal Mdluli

Nawaal Nolwazi Mdluli is an entrepreneur and mother, and the CEO of Kwenta Media (Pty) Ltd. She is a dynamic black businesswoman and astute advocate for responsible parenting. A force to be reckoned with, Nawaal’s ability to mobilise and manage a dynamic organisation using a winning business model that is underpinned by fresh ideas and creativity, are key to her continued success.


By Hlulani Masingi