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Graduates bake their way to success

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

Frustrated from being  unemployed, two Durban graduates taught themselves how to bake and opened a bakery. SG Bakery employees take their products to the community.

SG Bakery co-founder Siyanda Shabane (30), from Umlazi, spent six months at home applying for jobs after graduating. Failing to secure one, he and his friend Mbonisi Gumede (30) started watching baking tutorials.

“I would watch these videos, bake and give the goodies to my family to taste.

“When I gained confidence, I bought more ingredients and a container and started baking to sell to the public,” recalls Shabane.

On his first day selling, he returned with a container full of unsold goods. However, on the second day, he sold everything and his business picked up from there.

Gumede then joined Shabane and the two started baking together. 

“We waited for my family to finish in the kitchen and then baked what we wanted to sell in the morning. It was very rough, but we enjoyed doing it,” says Shabane.

As sales increased, they hired seven youth to sell their goods in industrial areas. They then erected a shack outside Shabane’s home, as the family kitchen was too small for their daily production.

Putting bread on the table

During the Coronavirus Disease lockdown, they had to stop selling as people had to stay at home. Shabane says this gave them an opportunity to try their hand at baking bread.

“We started selling loaves of bread in May 2020 and now demand is high. To date, we have baked 24 000 loaves.

“Our clients are non-governmental organisations, individuals, schools, households and clinics. We currently produce between 120 and 150 loaves a day,” he says.

eThekwini Municipality has supported the duo with raw materials and Hollywoodbets recently sponsored furniture and a 12-metre shipping container, which they turned into a bakery.

“Hollywoodbets's sponsorship made a huge difference. We were in desperate need of a proper workspace. People are observant and based on the place you sell from, decide to come in or go elsewhere,” says Shabane.

The bakery now employs 12 people and aims to hire more from the community.

“Just like me, there are people who couldn’t get jobs after graduating. We want to give them an opportunity to make a living,” says Shabane.