Durban - Lindokuhle Msomi’s story is a rags-to-riches success story.
This entrepreneur set his goal and stood by it.
The 29-year-old, originally from a village called Yalambu in the Nkandla district, said seeing his dream light up in front of his face was his proudest achievement.
This came after Msomi became known for saving his R350 relief grant over nine months to start an informal kiosk in February last year.
The initial roadside business was a structure made from discarded wood which he collected from hostel surroundings, and a few home appliances he could secure for his small, informal business.
The business he started was, however, looted during the July unrest, but that was when the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), together with the Solidarity Fund, came to his rescue by approving a R400 000 support grant that included working capital and a container with storage and cooking equipment, to help see his vision through.
Msomi comes from a family of six and is the first-born son. He said his father was still providing for the family, but he felt it was his duty to also provide.
Chief executive at the NEF Philisiwe Mthethwa said they saw a lot of potential in Msomi, and that he has the traits of a visionary who is going far in life.
“We see a powerhouse in Msomi – one that can birth the first, true, black-owned restaurant franchise giant that stretches from Musina to Gugulethu, from KwaMashu to Upington, and indeed, stretching across the vibrant promise of the African continent,” she said.
She said they viewed Msomi as one of the catalysts in a generation that must take the dreams of a new economy to greater heights.
Mthethwa said Msomi represented that spirit and dynamism that must see South African youth designing and manufacturing the country’s first motor vehicle, mobile phones, TV sets and a vast array of products across our industrial and consumer landscape.
Msomi, a TV producer who obtained his qualification from KCap Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre (EMAC) in KwaMashu, said being unemployed was eating him up as he now had a child to feed and doing odd jobs was not cutting it.
“My mother would call me and send messages, reminding me that my son needs some essentials, but I would ignore her and that was mostly because of the embarrassment of not being able to provide. I knew I had a plan. I just did not see it playing out like this; I’m humbled,” said Msomi excitedly.
His mother, Thandi Msomi, said her son had always believed in himself from a very young age, in that there was “nothing he can’t do”.
She said it was the same attitude that got him where he was today.
“I knew he was going to be a blessing from the moment he opened his eyes; he has always been creative and curious. My son always wanted to know and learn more, everything fascinated him and he was always good with his hands. What is happening here today is all the fruits of his love for knowledge,” Msomi’s mother said.
A community member, Lindo Ndwandwe, said: “I have seen this young man working hard, he has truly inspired us. But to see such an amazing thing happening, I now have faith that more is yet to come,” said Ndwandwe.
Msomi said since he had been given a chance to turn his life around, he was also going to go all out to create more job opportunities for the other youth in the community.
He said he wanted to show everyone that it was possible.