Working to build a family legacy
Shingi Chakufora left the country of his birth to pursue employment in South Africa, leaving behind his wife and two sons. He quickly learnt that he would make better inroads if he used his hands and talent in carpentry to start a business in 2009 while in Johannesburg. A year later he moved to East London because of the overcrowding and intense competition in the market.
His business grew immensely when his wife joined him and now the couple produce quality furniture from a backyard and sell it on Western Avenue in Vincent. His wife, Chengatai Rozoa, cuts a lonely figure as she varnishes all the furniture he makes, while selling it on the street every day.
Chakufora spends his day making furniture with three employees in their makeshift workshop in the backyard of their Ducats home, which they share with their two sons. They have invested in machinery and a bakkie to transport the goods.
Selling goods from the side of the street saves them rent money, but they are affected by weather conditions. They will also not be able to sell on the road for long as the municipality bylaws do not allow.
However, this couple feels that they are a winning collaboration. “My wife is good with sales; she has a good work ethic and I trust her with the family business. Having her here works better because I know she is good with customer relations and money,” enthused Chakufora.
He has a high productivity pace as he makes at least ten bar stools a day. He also produces tables, television stands, library shelves, headboards and chests of drawers. He also takes requests from clients who have their own designs and preferences. “The money we make is enough to keep us going and taking my third son to school in Zimbabwe,” said Rozoa.
The couple plan to open a furniture shop in East London and run a family business for generations to come.