The army’s loss was business’ gain for Mr Base Macha. After his short height saw him turned back by army recruiters in 1978, the 52 year old became a student of upholstery through a Zimbabwean friend who knew the trade. Mr Macha then left for South Africa to learn more about upholstery, which was a rarity in Botswana then. He returned home around 2000, armed with upholstery equipment and the right skills set, which enabled him to win some upholstery tenders from the city council.
It was in 2005 that he started his upholstery business, which still stands strong. Today his speciality is repairing and manufacturing couches. He also makes school bags, and attributes his success to hard work and patience.
However, his business is not without challenges. One of his concerns is that Batswana like buying products cheaply, and tend to buy from those who sell and repair furniture at a low price. Mr Macha observes that the upholstery market is saturated as a lot of investors have entered the sector. He appeals to government to help him procure machines he needs for the business to run successfully.
“I am worried about youth who stroll around the mall doing nothing. Youth should learn to use their hands to create jobs for themselves,” says Mr Macha.
He advises that they should take advantage of upholstery since it is easy and still in its infancy in Botswana. He says that he has mentored some youth on the business. He says that the government should set up institutions to train youth in technical vocations and to encourage Batswana to make their own goods as opposed to having a huge import bill.
Source : BOPA