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#AwethuPeople: Johannes Ngobeni

#AwethuPeople: Johannes Ngobeni

A business built for a just cause

“We were raised on the profits of morogo,” chuckles Johannes Ngobeni, an entrepreneur who spent most of his formative years growing up in the small village of Klipgat in the North-West. Johannes smiles as he attributes the development of his entrepreneurial spirit to the tireless work ethic he inherited from his parents, who alongside their day jobs supplemented their income by growing and selling the staple African vegetable, morogo.

Perhaps the genius of an entrepreneur is a mixture of birth and training. Johannes’ entrepreneurial spirit showed early in childhood. Between the ages of 7 and 12, Johannes helped his parents by selling buckets of Magwinya (fat cakes) around his village on weekends, even in the peak of winter.

In the early stages of Johannes’ professional career, while teaching at Hebron College, his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in once again. Johannes conducted extra maths and science classes for struggling students at a price of R10 per class. This initiative was inspired more by the desire to fundamentally empower people than to make a profit.

A similar narrative forms the foundation of the successfully growing business Johannes has built today. His restless entrepreneurial spirit was rekindled when his nephew, Kabelo, faced the grim prospect of joining thousands of his South African peers who graduate and are unable to find formal employment. As a way to try assist Kabelo with earning a living, Johannes requested that Kabelo service his garden for a fee. Within 3 months the garden had transformed into a spectacular state, but Johannes’ conscience was not at peace.

“I Looked at Kabelo and thought this is not how his energy should be utilized. I looked at my garden. I looked at him, I nearly cried”. He immediately decided to sell his car and within a week it was replaced with a bakkie.

Johannes saw an opportunity to establish a company with Kabelo. The first iteration of their company was “Just Tissue and Cleaning Materials Trading and Projects”. It was a company that sold and delivered toilet paper and cleaning material.

With the profit made and two unused laptops and desks at home, Johannes and Kabelo extended their business partnership and opened an internet café, housed in a township “zozo” (otherwise known as a shack). This business was well supported and allowed the children of their community access to Internet research. This innovative pair even managed to buy a video game machine and charged the children to come and play.

Both businesses were beginning to thrive, until an unfortunate night when Kabelo was robbed at gunpoint and all the equipment was stolen.

One can only imagine the despondence they both felt, but true entrepreneurial spirits do not shrink in the face of adversity. It was at this point that JUST LOGISTICS was born. Still, in possession of the bakkie, Johannes proved what he had learnt a long time ago through the example of his parents. He learnt that with a little you can make a lot and that it is possible to make a living off the limited resources available to you.

Today, JUST LOGISTICS is a company that provides reliable and affordable furniture removal services, and the provision of cleaning materials. Johannes has since employed two more staff members and is operating all around the Gauteng region.

“Our vision for 2030 is to have four divisions in the company; Furniture Removal Services, Property Rental, Manufacturing of Cleaning Products, and Outdoor Advertising Space, which will enable us to provide employment for young skilled people.”

Here are the things Johannes is addressing in his venture right now:
• Finding investors
• Procurement of additional vehicles and trailers

Hear what Johannes has to say about his business: Watch the snapshot.

For more information about how to support Johannes Ngobeni and other #AwethuPeople, click here:Helping#Awethu

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