Mmeleke’s Gains From Loss

| December 3, 2014 | 0 Comments

What started as an ordinary job for Mr Galeswele Mmeleke of Tonota eventually ushered the young man into the onerous metal business industry and meaningful existence.

The 39-year-old man said in an interview how he always had an eye for business, although he did not know where his foot would eventually land. At the age of 20, the owner of Gee-Metal and Steel Works was already working for a welding company called Progressive Steel Fabrication in his village the company has since closed shop.

Mr Mmeleke, who only has a Junior Certificate, said he was grateful for the skill he acquired from his former employer because it has made him what he is today.

“I have not gone for any further studies in welding but today that is what earns me a living,” he said, recalling that fateful day when he was fired by his manager because he had secretly gained by doing work for a client behind his employer’s back.

“I had charged him a lower fee than what the company charged and when the manager heard of this, he fired me on the spot,” he recalled. Mr Mmeleke said he took that as a lesson and did not allow the incident to mark the end of his career.

In 1998, he decided to start his own business as a welder after working for that company for more than three years which had given him the necessary experience to do his own thing.

Mr Mmeleke said as a way to aertise himself, he initially bought some old metal chairs, repaired them and then he wrote his contact details at the back of the repaired chairs. He said the strategy was that he hired out the chairs for services like weddings and funerals.

“It is at those particular events that people got to know about my business through the chairs,” he said. He produces bugler bars, grave stands, sliding gates and donkey carts, among others, he said.

Mr Mmeleke said he was renting a backyard of someone’s home along the main road within Tonota as his business place. “I prefer this place because it is along the way and that serves as a marketing strategy,” he said.

He said he currently had two employees whom he hired because business was in the booming stage and he could not meet the demands on his own. Furthermore, he said he was grateful to the Tonota Sub-district council as that is where he gets most of his clients.

“I have managed to build myself a house and even marry through this business, but what really drives me more than anything is the passion I have for it,” he remarked. As with any business, Mr Mmeleke’s is not spared from challenges such as lack of security for his products.

“I do not have a proper place of operation and as such my products are not safe,” he said, pointing at the open back yard. He said that becomes a hindrance because some of his clients made an assessment of the place before they can give him jobs.

Mr Mmeleke said he did not seek any financial aid from any institution or government because the money he had been saving while working was what he used to buy the machinery he uses. He has urged people especially the youth to avoid depending on government for everything.

“I believe it is usually better if you seek financial help while you already have something in hand,” he said.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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