Margo Fargo, an avid environmentalist and champion of women empowerment, grew up climbing trees and baking mud cakes. Running barefoot on the grass, she says, and playing with her friends during the day, were some of her happiest moments.
“I was a tomboy and only started wearing shoes at the age of seven because I loved being barefoot so much. I grew up very shy and a full-blown nerd, focused on excelling in academics as that was my hiding place.”
Always surrounded by her family, Margo was made to believe that she really can be anything or anyone no matter what, not dependent on what she has, but on her attitude towards every situation.
“My attitude was always there, but the belief only kicked in about eight years ago, where I just felt like challenging myself a little more in everything I do, while completing my honours degree in consumer sciences,” she says.
“That led me to break my own personal fearful barriers and making myself vulnerable to the world by showing more of who I am and my story.”
Now, I stand strong and tall knowing I am more than able, and to trust the seasons of life.
You are regarded as one of SA’s leading environmentalists. When and where did your passion for sustainability come from?
This really started as a child who was raised enjoying the simple things. Growing up on a plot, there was not much to do and our neighbors were quite a distance away.
I was allowed to play outside and get lost climbing trees nearby and closely looking at all the animals. This created a subconscious appreciation for my surroundings, and when we moved to the city we did not have that.
This was not always conscious of me to venture into the environmental space, but was always a golden thread in everything I did. Once I got to university, l was constantly asking myself: “What sustainable impact can I make through my career path?” and many opportunities presented themselves and I decided to pursue them, as well as look for opportunities to grow and learn in the environmental space.
You are also passionate about women empowerment. Tell me more about your initiatives / programmes regarding this.
I’m a director of an organisation called Crown Me Naturally S.A. This initiative aims to bring young women together to own their true selves in whatever shape or form it is.
Our hair is our crown and as women we take great pride in it.
We host annual events where women can buy tickets and receive double the value back with workshops, haircare, hampers and business talk. This safe space goes beyond the event. The conversation continues in smaller spaces and with building our network across South Africa.
I currently am fortunate to have eight amazing ambassadors and will soon become thirty nationwide whom I keep in touch with and have brainstorm sessions to see how we can make a further impact. I also privately mentor and guide young, promising ladies where I can. Every bit counts.
What is most challenging about what you do? And what do you enjoy most about what you do?
The most challenging aspect would definitely be seeing less of my family and friends because it is so demanding yet rewarding; however, it is beautiful to see how my support structure cheers me on no matter what.
The best part is that there are so many opportunities to meet new people and enter new spaces that I could never imagine finding myself in. Every day is so different and creates the expectation that anything can happen.
If you could have any 3 people over for dinner, who would they be and what would you serve?
This would definitely be Michelle Obama, The late President Nelson Mandela and my late father.
Michelle Obama has a grace of leading with such strength yet in a gentle manner. I would love to hear more about what she has say about being the bigger person in tough situations and what keeps her going.
The late President Nelson Mandela because I just want to hear him say why he never quit; what kept him going all along.
My late dad because I would love to find out how he thinks I turned out being all grown up and ask him to give me his advice – whatever it is for any aspect of my life.
I would serve sweet grilled chicken, a pot of my Dad’s favorite braaivleis and a few side salads. I’ll then end off with my signature Malva pudding dessert.
Any advice for other women, especially young women finding their paths/purpose in life?
Take it one step at a time because it’s really fine to not have it all figured out. Always chase the peace you have after making any decision, big or small. Be patient with yourself, and enjoy the journey.