Dec 2023 edition

Bochum youth paving their way to success

Written by Sihle Manda

The road to success is becoming smooth for a young paver from Bochum, in Limpopo, after he decided to formalise an unregistered business he had inherited from a mentor.

Tumelo Ratala, 31, following the demise of the owner of the unregistered business, decided to formalise the start-up in 2017. And with that, Senwabarwana Pavements, a small pavement installation company, was born. .

Speaking to Vukuzenzele, he said: “We used to work for this man in our area on a part-time basis. He was old and he passed on around April 2017. At the time we were studying at UNISA in Polokwane. We worked with him during the school holidays and whenever we were not busy.”

Shortly after his mentor passed on, the need for the service was still there.

“Because we already had the skills that he taught us we decided to continue with the business. I decided to register it so we could take it to the next level,” he said.

Since then, Ratala has been working with his business partner, Modiba Tloka.

Luckily, that year, the business won R50 000 after a business pitching competition run by PwC and Nedbank in Gauteng.

“Our pitch was good enough to win us R50 000. We used that money to purchase general equipment and even hire one person,” he said.

The following year, Senwabarwana Pavements began having a formidable footprint, receiving projects from various schools and other private clients in the area.

“We perservered and in June 2018 we managed to add another employee. We were now starting to get clients from as far as Polokwane,” said Ratala.

Encouraged by the sustainable growth, the business secured office space in the town of Bochum in 2019. This development saw Senwabarwana include the internet café component to its business offering.

“We expanded from just doing pavement installations to now offering small printing and internet services, mainly for students around the area,” he said.

This element of the business mainly caters to learners and students from the nearby primary school and the Capricorn TVET College in the area.

Apart from the pitching competitions, the business has benefitted from various entrepreneur development programmes.

These included a Start-up School programme, an initiative of the private bank Investec, which strives to unlock entrepreneurial potential in South Africa and beyond through entrepreneurship courses.  At the end of the courses, the students pitched for funding to the value of R100 000. Again, Senwabarwana came up tops.

The business currently employs five people on a full-time basis and another three on a part-time basis.

For more information on Senwabarwana Pavements, email: or call
015 065 0907

For more information on the Start-up School, visit: or email:

Rural development
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