I am unemployed, I have been for some time now, but please bear with me, this is by no means a sad story, nor a sop account which will have you reaching for your tissue or liking the link on Facebook because it warms your heart, this is a peek into a hustlers’ journal.
I graduated with a degree in Urban Planning in 2016, and since then I have been steadily applying myself, both figuratively and literally into everything I believe could be able to bare myself and my family fruit.
Throughout these three years I’ve worked countless menial jobs and failed dismally at times. I’ve worked as an insurance salesman, sold bags to the ladies “ka lifemeng” industrial site, opened up a spaza shop, dried fruits and vegetables for sale, worked as a receptionist, personal assistant, personal trainer, managed a gym, had a few stints in modelling, sold ice cream (office to office) and, okay I must admit the list is not as long as I had imagined.
Also I must say, my story is by no means different from most, we all know that opportunities are hard to come by in Lesotho, and I am not the only one to have been in and out of jobs just to make ends meet. Also, I don’t see my journey as that of struggle, but rather as life lessons I have learned along the way.
For instance I’ve learned the importance of paranoia in business, it is very important to know and note where every cent you make is going.
When I look back I see how throughout all of this what has always been most important to me was being a source of change, a well of knowledge or maybe even a catalyst for improvement… A conscious “bhut madliza” , haha.
So in 2017, in collaboration with Selibeng.com, Proph2/4 and Osmium, we started an entity called KemNet Lesotho. What this was, as we had envisioned with my good friends Khothatso Kolobe and Mokitimi “Mochini”, was a platform in which we could tell African stories, genuinely, for the betterment of the African youth.
And so we started off with podcasts that were meant to shift the economic standing of our Basotho youth, by hosting renowned successful local youth in the sphere of business, we hoped to relay a message of imparting practical business skills to those new to the business world.
The blogs were meant to conscientize our viewers on the African Story, the political mechanisms that were put in place to place our continent where it is today. While our weekly radio show was set up to give a voice to the plight of our youth, feminist movements, young business owners, Rare Diseases Lesotho and companies that help to encourage our youth such as The Hookup Dinner and the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce.
While someone may look at this and say wow.., that’s quite the repertoire, just know this, I was not getting a cent out of doing all of that. And while your passion may “fuel” your spirit, it can never feed your stomach.
So after a while, I was right back at square one, having done quite a bit but with nothing to show. At this point I thought back to my childhood, I remembered my childhood heroes, Bonginkosi Dlamini “Zola7” and countless other “uncles” in my hood I grew up looking admiring.., all undoubtedly, “Mapantsola”.
“Lepantsola” the way that we described it, was a charismatic individual, always smiling despite his circumstances, someone born and raised in the ghetto who was still able to make due and shine with nothing but the few resources that life had thrown his or HER way.
Some would use of their street smart and fast “tsotsi” slang to get you to buy things you had no business purchasing, some would harness their talents (singing and dancing) to get them to the next level and some would learn skill sets to put food in their mouths, hence there are so many mechanics ‘ka kasi.’
Well, with this in mind, I sat back, relaxed and took stock of my environment, no one was hiring, I had no exceptional skills per se, but I did have land, and hold up, an unused laptop.
Kasi Farms was born last year in 2018, as a way for me to contribute towards the household and make a few cents for myself.., I sold the old laptop to buy farm implements.
The KEMNET dream is still alive, and while we maybe far from “living the dream”, we’re at least succeeding to make some ends meet.