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From The Soil To The Shelves

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It’s not every day that a kitchen experiment turns into a community-empowering initiative. Leeko Makoene numbed her tongue and survived two ulcers to discover an authentic fiery taste named Chilladido.

With the brand’s co-owner Portia Mmabatho Morudi, she is bent on giving back to the communities they grew up in, with a ‘Made With Rural’ concept showcasing their authentic offerings.

While most of their peers have migrated to urban areas, the duo returned to invest in rural South Africa.

“It doesn’t make sense that rural communities who have rich arable land [at their disposal] still experience abject poverty and huge rates of unemployment,” says Makoene.

Chilladiddo is a food manufacturing company that produces chilli sauces, relishes, honey and other food products. The ingredients are sourced from Makapanstad village, processed in Lanseria, Johannesburg, and then sold at food shows, markets and a few Spars outlets in the city.

To make their business viable, the duo sought a partnership with the PEACE Foundation to set up structures to make  the projects sustainable. The foundation provided the necessary skills, resources and know-how in the communities.

The duo’s iLawu Honey project driven by the rural village of Winterveld is a showcase of innovation; the bee-hives are located in citrus farms managed by co-operatives in the area. The hives help with the pollination, and the honey produced is sold at food shows and markets.

This was Morudi’s brainchild, and for this, she was selected an emerging change-maker in South Africa by Spark International and invited by Virgin Unite and the Richard Branson group to speak at an event in London in 2014.

“Year after year, government ploughs money into projects and co-operatives operated in rural areas, only to see them fail and out of business a year later, simply because it is hard for them to crack the retail space, and secure sustainable markets,” offers Makoene.

As an entrepreneur, she found a solution to this issue. They partnered with like-minded small business owners, who are looking to raw materials and other things to keep activity in the rural supply market chain.

Makoene maintains that the youth misunderstand rural development.

“Agriculture is food. The whole chain of taking food from the soil, all the way to the shelf and the plate is what agriculture is about. There is a broad and exciting future in agriculture. African youth can create a legacy for themselves and their communities.”

In June 2015, the pair will host a mentorship walk in rural Makapanstad, where professionals, government officials and business owners will motivate and encourage the youth to pursue their dreams.

Plans are also underway to source funding to convert an inactive school facility in one of the villages into a processing plant for manufacturing Chilladiddo products.

Already awarded grant money from SAB Kickstart and The Hope Factory to help move the business forward, the Chilladiddo duo are set to launch a franchise food outlet and host a big festival to showcase all that Makapanstad has to offer.

“I am more fulfilled and rich doing the work that I do for rural development. I get pure joy on a tractor, than in a Porsche. Life has humbled me, and shown me what it is that matters the most, and from there, I have started receiving material riches,” says Makoene.

The chilli sauces and the fire in their bellies are enough to keep them going.

Entrepreneurs

The Foodies With A Drive For Business

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Two taxi commuters who went on to become friends and tenacious business partners selling gourmet cuisine out of a food truck.

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Billionaires

Abducted Tanzanian Billionaire Mo Dewji Returns Home

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Tanzanian billionaire entrepreneur Mohammed Dewji, who was abducted by unidentified kidnappers on October 11 in Dar es Salaam, has been released and has returned home safe.

 

In a statement released by MeTL group at 3.15AM today, the prominent businessman says: “I thank Allah that I have returned home safely, I thank all my fellow Tanzanians and everyone around the world for their prayers. I thank the authorities of Tanzania, including the Police Force for working for my safe return.”

The Tanzanian police have also released a video in which Dewji, dressed in a t-shirt and who looks visibly shaken and worn out, thanks his supporters.

Said a source who works closely with Dewji to FORBES AFRICA: “He was released in the middle of Dar es Salaam around 3AM today, unharmed, after which he ran to the nearest security guards who dropped him off home. He does not know who his abductors were. He was only taken about 20 minutes away from the city center, so he has been in Dar es Salaam since the abduction. He has no visible bodily harm with the exception of marks from the handcuffs.”
She also revealed that the abductors wanted ransom but let him go on account of the media hype around the kidnapping.

Dewji was on his way to a gym session at a luxury hotel in Oyster Bay, Dar es Salaam, in the early hours of October 11, when he was kidnapped by the masked gunmen.

Dewji’s family had earlier offered 1 billion Tanzanian Shillings ($436,674) to anyone who could help them find him.
Dewji, popularly known as “Mo” in Tanzania, is the CEO of MeTL active in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in eastern, southern and central Africa. He is also the main sponsor of football club Simba.
Dewji was featured on the cover of FORBES AFRICA in July 2013 and was named FORBES AFRICA’s Person of The Year in 2016. The 43-year-old single-handedly turned his father’s trading business into Tanzania’s largest import-export group.

Dewji’s personal networth is $1.5 billion, according to the Africa billionaires list released by FORBES earlier this year. He is also Africa’s youngest billionaire.

Dewji’s office has said it will release a personal address by Dewji “once he is settled”.

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Entrepreneurs

No Wasted Opportunities For Swazi Entrepreneur

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In the mountainous kingdom of eSwatini, a former pre-school helper is turning trash to treasure.

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