- Duncan Village in East London was buzzing as the Masikhanyiselane bakery officially launched last week.
- The initiative was conceived 14 years earlier by a group of 13 unemployed young people
- The Eastern Cape Development Corporation invested R551 000 in the bakery
The business venture was the brainchild of 13 youths from the same congregation and was 14 years in the making.
The group all resided within the township and were all unemployed.
Mangaliso Mpolongwana and Ntombikayise Rasmeni are the only 2 that remain from the original group.
The remainder either gave up or got jobs as the years went by. However, 5 new members joined.
Mpolongwana said, “We hope the bakery will create employment for other young people from Duncan Village. We wanted to do something that will include everyone. We can employ those young people if the community supports us by buying the bread.”
The biggest challenge initially was the lack of funding.
Rasmeni said they started off baking scones with their own stoves at home.
Ground Up reported that The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) sponsored the group in 2011 with machinery and a sizeable oven all to the value of R551 000.
However, the new equipment could not be utilised due to a lack of electricity.
After approaching the municipality in Buffalo City, they benefitted from a renovation of their business premises and finally had electricity.
Ntombizine Cekiso says they are seeking solutions for their transportation issues.
Currently, they walk all day to various shops and schools to sell their bread.
Approximately R1 million was invested in the business premises by the municipality according to Samkelo Ngwenya. The communications manager also said they would support the fledgling business with training.
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