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Route360 - Masixole Kula
Route360 is not a geographically designated route; it is a unique cultural lifestyle experience, enjoyed by the locals on a daily basis, which we would like to share with others. Route360 exist of 8 categories: adventure, art, education, food, heritage, nature, sport and wine. To get a better insight in who the entrepreneurs and businesses behind the different categories are and what the entrepreneurs exactly do, we would like to share the stories of entrepreneurs in the communities. Today, Masixole Kula.
Masixole Kula, is 28 years old and has his own business in Kayamandi, called “Le Makoye Promotions”. It was a long ride for Masixole to get there, but now he hopes that business starts flowing soon.
Masi (as many call him), was born in the Eastern Cape, a town called King William’s town, about 40 minutes’ drive away from East London. Masi was still young when he moved to Kayamandi for a few years and then lived in Cape Town and surroundings and thus Masi grew up in the Western Cape. In 2000 his family moved back to Kayamandi and Masi finished school in 2001.
After school Masi started working at the Marine Research Centre in Cape Town. Here he got some formal training. Sometimes he would be away on a boat for 3 months. On the boat Masi would monitor fishing boats and the amount of fish they catch in South African waters. “We were supposed to look and do the monitoring - we were not enforcing the regulations”. Masi was writing reports about the monitoring and sent them back to the research centre. After this Masi got business training, tried to gain some entrepreneurial skills and ended up at a trauma training (PPR). “I don’t like sitting around and do nothing, so I did do quite some training”.
In 2010, Masi got his first promotion job. “At that time I did not have my own stuff, like a computer. So what I do was using Kuyasa community centre’s computer and printer to do my job. What I saw was people with a t-shirt, but without the text or picture that really meant something to them. So what I wanted was to give them an opportunity to get on the t-shirt what they want there.” In 2010 Masi took part in a winter program called “Keep Them Safe.” I was one of the students in the entrepreneurship program, here I learnt how to write a business proposal.” Only a few months later, in October, Masi saw an advert from Cape Winelands in the paper, they were looking for people with a business or business idea. So he sent them his proposal, with funding for his business up to 30.000 rand. He applied and was shortlisted for an interview. A positive answer only came the 18th of May. Cape Winelands said that they would fund his new business, and “so I got a 20.000 Rand to start my business called ‘La Makoye Promotions’ that same year.”
On the question ‘How do you experience having your own business?’ Masi responded with “I still can’t believe it! But it is hard work sometimes”. The most difficult thing is the fact that Masi does not have working capital. The big jobs are often only paid after 30 days, this means that Masi spent a lot of money on products etc, but has to wait 30 days before money comes back in. “But I know what I want to achieve. That is what keeps me going.” “And I hope, when my business grows, that I can give back to my community, like offering others a job. If this happens I need more Masi’s, I need another Masi to take over some of my jobs in order to deal with the business.”
In some way Masi already tries to give back to the community, whenever possible “The pre-school ordered 60 t-shirts, normally it is 45 Rand a t-shirt, and they ask the parents to pay for that, now I only wanted 40 Rand a t-shirt. The parents paid the pre-school 45 Rand and for each kid 5 Rand went to the pre-school.”
Masi’s business is a growing one, however not many tourists or visitors know how to find him at the moment. But in the future Masi hopes to reach them “Tourists don’t go for big things, so t-shirts is a very good idea. But for this I need a new printer so I can print on spot and I need my business on a good place, I wanted to get something like a shop in town or I would like to promote myself at tourism shops in town”.
And there are many more dreams for the future “I would like to have a formal education one day, but I don’t see how that is possible at the moment. I would like to do a Business and Marketing course, I like the business thing, I would like to extend it one day.”
In the end it is not all about business in Masi’s life “I want to create a sustainable life for my kids. That’s what I wanna do. I don’t want to worry about what happens with my family when I am not here anymore."