Young people in Kwaggafontein-D in Kwa-Mhlanga have turned a dumping site into a beautiful garden where they host events through their youth cooperative.
NtoSifiso Primary Cooperative is a 100% youth-owned events management and project business, trading as NtoSifiso Garden.
It was established by Nonkululeko Masango and cousins Sandile, Xolani, Sfiso and Nkosinathi Mbokane in 2015, but was only registered in 2018.
The business started after the youngsters realised that residents of their community loved taking photos in the flower garden at one of their homes.
“People used to come to my mother’s house and ask to pose for pictures in the garden. We realised that this was becoming a habit and started charging them R50 to access our garden,” says Sfiso (35), who is the cooperative’s operations manager.
From there, the group saw an opportunity for a lucrative business.
“We drafted a business plan and approached the Ndebele King to ask for land opposite my home, which was previously used as a dumping site. We were granted permission to use the land so we cleaned it up and turned it into a venue for events,” he adds.
The business occupies over 10 hectares of land and offers a venue for weddings, parties, picnics and social gatherings. It has swimming pools and a braai area and catering services are provided on request.
The cooperative has received training and funding support from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
“We received a business grant of R50 000 and bought a quality sound system so that we can entertain our guests and give them more value for their money,” he says.
Sfiso encourages young people, especially those who are unemployed, to get together and start cooperatives to create jobs for themselves and their peers.
NtoSifiso cooperative has created employment for 17 people, including the co-founders.
To register a cooperative, contact the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s call centre at 086 100 2472.
To find about NYDA funding, contact the NYDA at 087 1586 345 or go to www.nyda.gov.za