A FAMILY AFFAIR: Kgothatso Masemene, 30, took over the reins of the family business in Diepkloof, Soweto, from his grandfather Puleng Masemene, now 90.  Pictures: Dimpho Maja / ANA
A FAMILY AFFAIR: Kgothatso Masemene, 30, took over the reins of the family business in Diepkloof, Soweto, from his grandfather Puleng Masemene, now 90. Pictures: Dimpho Maja / ANA
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: Their bicycle shop, Masemene Cycles, evolved through three generations of men with a passion for bicycles.
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: Their bicycle shop, Masemene Cycles, evolved through three generations of men with a passion for bicycles.
When Puleng Mase- mene suffered a stroke over 34 years ago and couldn’t be formally employed anymore, it didn’t stop him from pursuing his passion to repair bicycles.

Masemene, now 90, used to work in bicycle shops and started running a small bicycle repair business from his home.

He passed on the trade to his son Sello, who in turn taught his son Kgothatso, who decided to formalise the family business by opening a store in the community.

Kgothatso’s grandfather, Masemene, started his bicycle shop from his home in Diepkloof in 1985 - two years after suffering a stroke and losing his job as a delivery and repair man in big bicycle store.

‘IT’S IN OUR BLOOD’: Kgothatso left, and his grandfather Puleng Masemene at their home in Diepkloof where their home-grown business first took root. Today their shop is a landmark in their community.


“My father was born into the bicycle trade, and when I was young, it was my first introduction into business. On weekends, I used to go to work with my father and that is where my love for bicycles began,” Kgothatso said.

When his father, Sello, died in 2011, it was up to him and his grandfather to grow the family business.

After obtaining an accounting qualification at the University of Johannesburg and opening his own firm, he realised bicycles were his real passion.

He then decided to take the business from their Diepkloof home and open a shop a few streets away.

Now, Masemene Cycles, according to Kgothatso, is a business his grandfather can be proud of.

“Bicycles are a passion in my family. I am more into BMX stunts, and on weekends I ride with my friends. But I also wanted to share my grandfather’s passion with my community,” he said.

Kgothatso said that when he opened the store, he wanted to add value to the already growing cycling culture in Soweto.

“I want the shop to have cycling events on the last Sunday of the month.

“We have hosted an event already and it was well attended,” Kgothatso said.

Masemene Cycles sells new bicycles and repairs old ones. It also has rentals and leasing options for those who can’t afford to buy new bicycles.

THREE GENERATIONS: Kgothatso explains how he took the family business to the next level.


“This is my passion. I think if I didn’t pursue my studies in accounting, I would have just started with bicycles. Accounting is something I went to school for, but bicycles are my life.

“I want to grow the business from what my grandfather started. I want it to be more than just fixing bicycles.

“I want it to be about encouraging a sense of community and a healthy lifestyle,” he added.

Kgothatso said that because the business has been in his family for three generations, they have built a good name and people have come to respect them.

“This is a dream come true for me. I used to draw logos when I was in primary school to see how the bike shop would look, and now it’s a reality.”

And it has made his grandfather proud.

Masemene said: “Even when he was young, I was encouraging him to improve his work on the bicycles. Now I am satisfied with him.”

Masemene, who has limited use of his right hand as a result of the stroke, still spends his days fixing and working on bicycles.

He said he will only stop working when he is sure the family shop is successful.

“I am proud of my child. I will only stop working when I am sure that the store is doing well,” Masemene added.