It is becoming familiar to see young men and women selling different kinds of fruits to motorists along Lesotho’s roads, especially in the capital city Maseru these days. Due to the high unemployment rate in the country, many young people are increasingly seen eking a living in the streets, most often walking in the middle of the roads selling fruits to passing motorists.
One of them, Mr Refumane Makhohlo (29) a former teacher at a primary school at Ha-Moruthane in Maseru district says he has been inspired by South African Serial Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Dj Sbu (Sibusiso Leope) who established many companies by taking calculated risks which are now paying off.
Mr Makhohlo who is selling fruits ranging from peaches, apples, oranges and grapes to passing motorists says while he was still teaching primary pupils and studying for his teaching diploma at Lesotho College of Education, he decided to augment his income by opening a “Spaza” shop.
He would find his goods sold at a rate he needed each day when he came back from his teaching job. This showed him that trading was a way to go so he decided to start selling to motorists, standing in the middle of the road.
“It has been six years since I started selling fruits to motorists. I started with a “Spaza” shop which is still operating but I was not making enough profit from my sales, that is when I realized that I should come and sell directly to motorists, most of whom do not want to halt their trip to buy fruits. Ever since I started selling this way my profits doubled. I am now able to provide for my family as the money I was earning as a teacher was not enough,” said Mr Makhohlo.
He is often looking for the next day to go to the streets to provide the much needed service to his clients and many of his peers have started following his unique selling strategy.
His dream is to have his own supermarket. He is inspired by big companies such as Apple Iphone, Amazon and Facebook which were started by young people, sometimes with meagre resources but are big companies now in the world, making great impact to the lives of many people across the globe.
Another young man Mr Motlatsi Moima (23) sells fruits along the busy road at Ha-Moruthane whilst waiting to be admitted at the National Health Training Center (NHTC) to study for a Nursing and Midwifery Diploma.
“I did not want to be sitting idle at home doing nothing as an idle mind is the house of the devil,’ he says.
He added, “I am learning a lot of things such as negotiation skills, being patient, street-smart and how to accept rejection as some motorists wave us away like we have leprosy.” He would be happy if motorists could have empathy for them as they are trying to make a living.