Impact SA

Township entrepreneurs highlighted in new documentary

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Documentary details how perseverance through many challenges and the fruits of hard labour yield success for Jabu Atchar founder, Jabu Malungane.

A new documentary has been launched which chronicles the entrepreneurial journey of Jabu Malungane, founder of Jabu Atchar.

The current unemployment rate in South Africa now sits at 32.9%, yet some analysts believe that this figure is, in fact, significantly lower than official figures suggest, given that this statistic does not accurately reflect what is happening in the robust and resilient informal sector.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the potential of township economies. In the vibrant and bustling townships of South Africa, a new economic narrative is being written by resourceful entrepreneurs. Township entrepreneurs are more than simply business owners, they are crucial contributors to local development and employment. 

There remain many challenges that SMEs continue to face. They include difficulty accessing funding, poor infrastructure, limited market access, rising crime and a complex regulatory environment. These are hurdles that Malungane has, and continues to experience. Yet despite these challenges, township entrepreneurs such as Malungane are known for their resilience and innovation. They often adapt their business models to fit the constraints of their environment.

It is for this reason that, as part of their broader mission to support and inspire entrepreneurs and SMEs in South Africa, iKhokha has partnered with Malungane to tell his story of tenacity, resilience and persistence.

The documentary begins with Malungane reflecting on his experience of having nothing, and of going to bed with an empty stomach. It goes on to illustrate how he has achieved success and his desire to establish a business legacy in Jabu Atchar.

Reflecting back, Malungane says that he doesn’t regret a single thing, and sees his business as a journey of discovery. “I never lost a cent, I paid school fees in the university of life. Failure is the biggest educator,” he says.

Jabu Atchar has grown from being sold outside shopping malls to include retail customers in Eswatini, Botswana and Lesotho, with Malungane selling locally through certain Pick ‘n Pay and Spar outlets as well as in fruit and vegetable markets such as Evergreens in Pretoria. While these retail partners constitute 40% of his business, the remaining 60% comes from spaza shops and shisanyamas within communities, by far his biggest customer base.

His advice to others wanting to start their own business is very clear – find something that you love and build a business around that. He says that too many entrepreneurs start a business with money as the main motivator, and are more likely to give up if they are not passionate about it. “Something you love will move you and your business”. 

Ramsay Daly, co-founder of iKhokha and Executive Producer of the Jabu Atchar film, believes bringing these stories to light will uplift the SME sector, a mission which iKhokha has pursued from day one.

”The SME landscape in South Africa holds incredible depth and diversity, and is filled with stories of perseverance and triumph against the odds. By providing a platform to tell these stories, we hope to further stimulate businesses like Jabu Atchar and unlock new avenues for growth,” he says. 

iKhokha’s partnership with Malungane will not only provide business support, but will utilise his success and learnings to mentor other small businesses countrywide, beginning with this documentary which officially launched at a premiere event at 44 On Stanley in Johannesburg at the end of May. Watch the documentary entitled Jabu Atchar: A Film About Legacy on YouTube or click here.


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