I’m from Katlehong. It is a nice place that is divided into many sections that I don’t even know some of it I guess that’s how huge it is.
We have more than three malls in Katlehong. So you can only imagine the crowd when it’s month-end. Outside the mall fences, there are street vendors selling earphones; earrings and even second-hand clothing. They’re forming a long row outside each mall’s fences.
I remember when street vendors were fighting with police when they were confiscating their items because, apparently, they are littering around the mall. It was just chaos, so mall management complained. I don’t blame the management. The dirt that was not good for the mall’s image.
I remember telling my neighbour, Thabang, “Police are confiscating the vendor’s items again.”
“Really? I don’t understand these police! How are they expecting them to feed their families?” He sounded concerned about it.
Thabang is a caring person. He likes to help me with my homework. He said, “people fail not because they’re stupid or hard headed, they fail because they don’t ask for help so they can be helped or assisted.”
A week after this conversation with Thabang, he was not around at home much like he used to. One day when I was going to school; I heard machines’ sounds, “Tu! Tu! Tu! Tu! Tu!”
I saw a construction sign reading: “wear a protective gear” with big bold letters and a hard hat logo on it. I was wondering what they are building. I saw Thabang inside a construction site wearing boots, overalls and a hard hat.
Every day when I pass by the site, there were improvements. I saw tyres put together as a fence nicely and they were colourful, brightly coloured with different colours. So, I assumed that they are building a big fancy crèche.
After like two months of construction; the site was finished. I bumped into Thabang on my way home after school. He was handing flyers to people who are passing by.
“Now are you going to tell me what is built here?” I asked Thabang.
“Oh boy, this is going to be a trade shop. You buy using recyclables. Unlike scrap-yards, we don’t give you money but items in the shop.”
Wow! I was amazed by the creativity of this guy.
“So where did you get the money to start this?” I asked curiously.
“Well, I filled for a loan at the bank and it was approved. And of course I know people who know people.” He said with a smile on his face, handing me a flyer.
Mayor and street councilors came to the shop’s launch and we had fun. His shop is a success because people now take recyclables to his shop and buy items. Thabang inspires me a lot with his “entrepreneurial skills” as he likes to put it.
He is Katlehong’s hero. Now people recycle in a fun way. And it is becoming cleaner and cleaner.
What’s funny is to see young kids coming to the shop with one plastic or glass bottles. When we weigh them, they amount to sweets.
“”Thank you Aubut’ Thabang,” they’d say. Then they run away from their friends who didn’t want to pick recyclables.
“You are brave, do you know that?” I ask Thabang.
“You are twenty two but you own a shop! I mean who does that?” I laughed asking Thabang.
“No boy, being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you should invent something big, no, you just find what is needed in your community, then you offer those services or products.”
Thabang’s shop is famous in Katlehong. I’m really proud of him. He named his shop: “Recycle for Thabang”. He employed five people. I’m his part-time PA.