Many people are struggling to get employed and when days and months go by without any luck, they fall into a cloud of despair and get frustrated with life.

However, 24-year-old Tshifhiwa Madzhie did not despair when he realised that both his father and mother were not working. In his thinking, there was still hope that his father would finally get some employment and continue to look after the family.

“As a youngster in the home one just wakes up to food in the kitchen no matter what. A child hardly worries about tomorrow because there is always this kind of faith, or should I call it confidence in the parents, that they would look after us and provide all our needs and that they would do that on time.”

Sadly, Tshifhiwa’s father passed away. There was no one who was then earning an income in the extended family of nine. While the father was still alive, even when he was not employed, he could bring home something through piece-work or odd jobs which he performed in the locality.

“The death of my father flung me into the centre stage of a breadwinner. I had to find something to do in order to supplement the little income which other family members – such as my brothers and sisters – were sometimes able to bring into the family.”

Tshifhiwa added: “Living in an extended family you only wake up and eat without getting out to do some piece jobs and bring something home. It’s like you are a lazy person. You need to contribute because you can clearly see that even those who are contributing are doing so from really nothing at all.”

Tshifhiwa had always been techno-savvy, so he bought some data vouchers to access and surf the internet. After a few days he managed to find what he was looking for – a means to earn a living.

While some people – even youths – are using the internet mainly for social media, he used it to research the kind of work which would beautify his life. He discovered the art of upholstery on the internet.

Soon he raised funds to buy his first sewing machine and some basic tools. He then followed upholstery lessons on YouTube.

“It was not easy to follow the instructions on YouTube videos at first. But I had to focus and pay attention to details. Today I am a proud upholster who is always in high demand in my locality. I am threading pieces to perfection.”

Tshifhiwa specialises in trimmings and upholstery. He uses his skill to give life to all old car seats, car roofs, dashboard face lift-ups, door panels, car tents, tent repairs, and any household and office furniture.

“A lot of youths are faced with lack of jobs. I know that not working is a frustrating phase in life. Therefore, I found two fellow youths, Maanda Machaba and Rudzani Luruli, and I taught them how to work on upholstery. I employed them and they are happy for the kind of skills which I am continuing to transfer to them.”

Meanwhile, Tshifhiwa is facing a financial challenge to grow his business due to financial constraints. He wishes to get to the stage where he can open a big workshop where he will be able to grow business and employ more youths.

“At this stage I am not so sure where to get funds to finance my business. The little money which we are able to generate on a monthly basis, goes to paying me and my two employees. We are left with nothing in our account. However, we are busy in the process of registering our business so that we can access government funds.”


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