Every ambitious young person has a dream of setting their foot on university’s grounds and pursue their respective careers, but financial constraints often shatter those dreams before they even reach their maturity stage. Buhle Sithela (21) had just started varsity when lack of finances cut his journey short.
“I was studying Events Management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) but I had to drop out due to financial constraints in 2015. It was heartbreaking indeed but a new era began exactly after that.
“I thought of a business idea that would benefit my community at large. That’s when I called up my community to bring their bins to me so that my friends and I could wash them at a low cost. Khayelitsha Bin Clean Project was born there and then. I never thought I’d ever see myself cleaning other people’s bins but I have no regrets cos I’m running a business and can put food on the table and pay my gents,” says the young man.
Buhle is grateful he had to go to varsity, although his time was short-lived, because “the business idea was conceived after we were tasked to market an event we came up with as part of an assignment”
Khayelitsha Bin Clean Project is a weekly bin cleaning service and charges R50 per month.
“When we first started we had only five bins but the business is growing faster than we imagined we now have more than forty clients. Somalian shop owners also take advantage of our affordable services. We recently invited people to bring their bins so we could wash them for mahala” he says.
However Khayelitsha Bin Clean Project not without its challenges.
“Sometimes some people don’t want to pay us for cleaning their bins and my colleagues go behind my back and collect money without my knowledge. That holds us back from growing even bigger into other areas. Some are suffering from drug addiction as well. With the water shortage we’re currently facing in Cape Town, my greatest challenge is probably access to water.”
How does he stay disciplined with so much going on in the country right now? He maintains his single-mother keeps him afloat.
“I grew up in the township and faced all the challenges that township young men face. There was gangsterism but my family was strict so that kept me off the streets. It’s hard to be raised by a single mother but she tried everything she could to provide for us.”
Just when you thought otherwise, Buhle’s project is actually for the benefit of his community.
“I screen films with the money we make from bin cleaning. The only time we see movies is when we go to town but I had a dream to bring cinema into our kasi. People now come out in numbers and support the cause. With that said, we do need lengthier local movies cos the people who come view them want more. Even when I’m home in the Eastern Cape I screen short films as well,” he adds his first screening as in July 2016.
“I just completed a six month internship with solar-powered cinema Sunshine Cinema. They mentored me on how we can expand the project. I want to stretch both my projects into other townships as well. The cinema has to available in corner to corner. I want schools and churches to come together to watch movies.” Buhle has been featured on Cape Talk, City Vision, Vukani just to name a few.
As someone who’s had his fair share of challenges, Buhle wouldn’t conclude the interview without sharing a few wise words.
“Firstly, I’d say people must find their passion cos lots of people wake up to do jobs they are not passionate about. Of course, you’ll get false alarms at first and think this is meant for you whereas it’s not. The wrong jobs will motivate you to choose wisely and motivate you mentally. Patience pays off. You can be an inspiration while you’re getting paid.”
Facebook: Khayelitsha Bin Clean Project PTY