Twenty-six-year-old Thato Lufuno Mahosi, who has always demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, established his poultry business along with his friends, when they were all still university students. They supplemented the business with whatever they could from their part-time jobs at the time. He and his friend wanted to seize the opportunity to expand the horizons in the poultry business which didn’t immediately work out, so they started farming in a two-room house in Tshisahulu village, near Thohoyandou in Limpopo Province.
They borrowed equipment from friends to maintain the business while they were studying. Upon completing his BComm in management studies from the University of Cape Town, Mahosi decided to take up a job and abandon his entrepreneurial journey for a telecommunications company because of the pressure to attend to his immediate needs and those around him.
Yet, over time, he realised that he couldn’t avoid his passion for entrepreneurship and development of rural communities.
This inner conflict reached a head when he was appointed by the Masia traditional council to initiate and run the community development trust now formally known as Masia development agency, which aims to initiate and implement development projects that will ensure rural socioeconomic development in the area around Vuwani town and improve access to information, to opportunities, jobs, better education, infrastructure development and any other initiative to will bring about development.
“This was an opportunity for me to be in a position where I use my passion, skills and knowledge to play a role in rural development and ensure that those in rural areas have access to the same opportunities, information, infrastructure and resources as those in the urban areas,” says Mahosi.
Together with other local education leaders, Mahosi launched the Masia maths and science academy, designed to improve the dire performance of maths and science by school children in the region, and to also reverse the impact of the Vuwani strikes on the schools in the area.
Mahosi also manages the community resource centre that has a library space, amphitheatre and office space that was provided for by the Department of Rural Development.
“The turning point in my career was when I visited India as part of an Allan Gray Orbis foundation and Start-Up safari entrepreneurship development trip. I was motivated by the drive the youth had in development start-ups and their enthusiasm and solutions to create jobs and solve social problems,” he adds. —Welcome Lishivha