Zimele Kwababana
Cape Town - An electronics and appliance waste initiative is pioneering entrepreneurship on the Cape Flats.

The Appliance Bank (TAB) provides an opportunity for unemployed men to establish micro-enterprises, using small home appliances as a catalyst for change. In partnership with leading household appliance companies and retailers, this initiative is making a real difference by providing income-generating opportunities.

Tracy Gilmore from the Clothing Bank, which TAB is part of, said: “We assist men on their journey towards economic stability by teaching them how to fix broken appliances and develop their business acumen, so that they can run a business selling the repaired appliances. We also support the men through a comprehensive life-skills programme.”

The men, most of whom are fathers, repair the donated household appliances and sell them for a profit in their communities. Gilmore said the objective was that each person should earn at least R4000 per month in the programme. “Our partners generously contributed 56000 items last year, which allowed us to support 67 businessmen, who in turn collectively generated profits of R3.3 million.”

Gilmore said they were planning on expanding the programme to benefit more than 200 men by 2020.

TAB also supports the circular economy by preventing damaged appliances from being disposed off in landfills. Gilmore said the initiative was helping impoverished communities access essential home appliances at affordable prices.

Zimele Kwababana, 41, who runs Zimele Trading, a successful electronics business at Nkanini, in Khayelitsha, said: “While I was working for a security company, I was always thinking about doing a course, so I can work on my own, especially with my hands.”

Kwababana, who heard about this initiative from his wife. said he was interested but apprehensive as he had no experience. “I took a chance but I did not make it the first time, but they gave me a second chance and I told myself that I am not going to play with this opportunity. Today, I am very proud of what TAB has made me, standing on my own. I know how to run my business. It totally changed my life and I wish that I can go far.”

Gilmore said: “We are proud of the progress TAB has made and excited to build on the programme’s contribution in improving our country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and aiding job creation.”


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Cape Argus