When Mushaathoni Mukwevho got fed up after looking for a job without success, he decided to start his own business and become an employer.
Mukwevho, who is from Tshavhalovhedzi near Thohoyandou, now employs more than 10 permanent people at his fast food, pizza and pie shop, internet cafe and hair salon.
This week, Statistics South Africa revealed shocking figures of the country’s high unemployment rate.
According to Stats SA the number of employed persons decreased by 237,000 to 16,3-million during the first quarter of 2019, while the number of unemployed persons increased by 62,000 to 6,2-million compared to the last quarter of 2018, resulting in a decrease of 176,000 in the number of people in the labour force.
However, while many of the formal sectors are losing jobs, young entrepreneurs like Mukwevho are taking advantage of opportunities in the informal sector and creating employment in their communities.
“My businesses are doing quite well and I am employing mostly young people who are still searching for proper jobs, and my dream is to expand so that I can create more jobs and lend a hand in the fight of unemployment,” said Mukwevho.
Avhazwifuni Raphunga runs a business called Funi’s Event and Catering, which he started in 2011. He is now among the top players in the catering business in the Vhembe district of Limpopo.
Raphunga employs 50 people in the business that he started with the simple motivation and support from family and close friends. Most of the employees are youth.
“Starting this business was not easy, people use to laugh at me when I was still catering for small events such as parties and matric dances. They would say, ‘cooking is for girls not boys’, but with the support and love I receive from family and close friends, I now have created employment for 50 people and we are known all over South Africa,” he said.
“When you create employment for someone you are bettering his or her life, but you are also making the lives of his children and wife better, it’s way beyond having 50 employees because behind these 50 people also have other family members who are benefiting from this project and it feels good to know that you bettering the lives of local people.”
Godfrey Radzilani from Tshirenzheni village in Nzhelele, who owns a tyre repair shop and car wash in Siloam taxi rank, said he started his business in 2015 and now has three permanent employees.
“So far I see growth in my business even though sometimes things don’t always go as planned, but I am grateful that I was able to create employment for other people as we all can see that in our country, we have a drought of jobs which is mostly affecting our youth,” said Godfrey.
He further emphasised the fact that young people should find ways to create employment and stop relying on the government for jobs because they will be unemployed for the rest of their lives.
“The unemployment rate went up again and it is painful because every graduation season we see more students graduating from different corners of the country and yet there are no jobs. I advise young people to start their own businesses and create employment.
“They must not wait for funding, they must start with the little they have and if they work with dedication they will succeed,” he said.
He also advised that “starting a business requires patience because there will always be challenges that will try to pull you back.