What’s the one lesson your parents taught you that you still value today?

They taught me to respect, love, share and care for other people in my community, and that hard work is the only means to success.

What is your motto to success?

It’s perseverance, even when it gets very tough, and to never give up.

How did you get into recycling?

While I was studying to be a teacher, I ran out of funds. I thought about any extra mural activity I could do that would give me extra money. An old friend told me about opportunities in recycling. I contacted Mpact Recycling, formerly known as Mondi Recycling. They told me how it works and I started collecting recyclables everywhere I went. On Mondays to Saturdays, I would go and sell everything I had for money. I saw an opportunity in my neighbourhood – we did not have a recycling centre. I opened Buy-Back Centre.

How has the business been doing?

It has been challenging but growing day by day because of the constant support from Mpact Recycling. The community is also very helpful because they bring their recyclable materials to my centre.

What have been the challenges?

We lack sites in this business, which hinders our success. It’s not easy to get a big site with enough space to store all my recyclables as we’re growing every day. We could grow more if we had more sites for recycling. Safety and dealing with cash on site is another challenge. I’ve been robbed a few times and even have scars to show for it! However, Mpact has introduced an e-wallet system that eliminates cash on sites.

Also be very considerate of other people, in entrepreneurship, you are nothing without the support of your community and people.

What keeps you going?

My family and the support I receive from my main buyer, Mpact, the dedication from my staff, and collectors who choose my centre to drop off also keep me going because there are many other centres they could take their recyclables to.   

Where would you like to see ‘Buy-Back Centre’ in 5 years?

I want to have many branches and outlets in Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape. I now have 25 trolleys at my premises. They allow the collectors to earn an income and support their families; I’d like to grow even more so help more people earn an income.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Work hard and have a strong passion about what you are doing. This business is not fancy at all – you’re always dirty because you’re dealing with people’s trash. We do not wear heels and suits, we wear boots and overalls but I have a passion for it.