When South African third-year agriculture economics student Benathi Mayikela couldn’t pursue his dream of becoming a professional soccer player, he turned to entrepreneurship. The 23-year-old now makes furniture and other products out of tyres and runs a cleaning service.
From Football to Tyre Furniture
“I’d always dreamt of being a professional soccer player. As a boy, I represented North West in the Danone Nations Cup in 2008.” Said Mayikela.
However, the soccer dream lapsed as it was too costly for his family to support.
That is when he started making playground toys and painting schools around Kokstad in KwaZulu-Natal. Mayikela was inspired by how swings were made of tyres and loved the way paint brightened up schools. So, he decided to start making objects out of tyres.
In 2018 Mayikela moved back to his hometown, KwaBhaca in the Eastern Cape. With R500 from a mentor, he had the seed funds to get started.
He started collecting tyres from motor spares and dumps. Mayikela says: “Because I want to be a trendsetter and I’m an artist, I upgraded the business by making chairs, tables, feeding troughs, flowerpots and swings. I also offered grass-cutting services.”
Makiyela Tyre Recycling and Cleaning Services was born in 2018. “Our team consists of five people: a welder who specialises in frames, a person who deals with our finances, a freelance lawyer who offers legal advice, my younger brother, Mphumezi (17), who does the sewing, painting and drills the holes in the tyres, and me. I manage the business, marketing and labour.” Says Mayikela.
“Creating the products is not a one-person job. It takes 10 to 14 days to finish up four chairs and a table. We believe in teamwork. Someone washes the tyres and paints, then another drills holes and sews. Someone else combines the tyres and adds frames and I assess the product and deliver it to the client.” He adds.
Source: News 24 (South Africa)