Khusu dares to dream

Khusu dares to dream

MOKHOTLONG – WHAT can you do with the grey agave flower’s long slender stalk other than burning it for household cooking? For a young man in Mokhotlong, it can have more uses than just household cooking.
Tlotliso Khusu, 22, is making a living by using the outer covering of the stalk to make pegs and toothpicks – a business that also employs 10 other people.

He makes at least M1 000 per month from the sale of pegs and toothpicks.
This is equal to the monthly wage of an average factory worker.
Khusu started this business in 2014 after failing to do well in his Lesotho General Certificate of Secondary Education (LGCSE) examinations at Seeiso High School in Mokhotlong.

He could not be admitted to any tertiary education institution with such low grades.
Khusu also realised that competition on the labour market was tough that he lost hope of formal employment.
He says he did not even try to look for a job. Instead, he created one.

“I realised that I had grown old enough not to depend on my parents for food and other basic needs,” Khusu says.
“My father is the only employed member of our family. My mother is a housewife. I am the first born in the family of five children,” he says.
Khusu says he studied the agave stalk carefully and realised that although it cannot be used as a pole because of its spongy material inside, its outer covering is hard enough for smaller items like pegs and toothpicks.

He says he also realised that almost every family buys pegs from supermarkets which import the items from South Africa.
He also realised that all street vendors who sell food in the Mokhotlong town and restaurants have imported toothpicks.
“I sat down and started making the pegs and toothpicks,” he says.
He took them to the market and to his joy, people liked them.

Soon, he was getting orders from local retail shops. He now employs 10 people.
Khusu does not have any machinery to make the pegs and toothpicks.
“I always wanted to start my own business, that is unique so that I can be able to attract more customers,” Khusu says.

“I realised that many people suffer while they look for jobs after writing their Form E exams and I did not want to experience that,” he says.
He does not know how it feels to go from office to office looking for a job.

“I am selling, although I do not have the equipment to make my stuff. I manage to do everything the way it is needed and I have costumers,” he says.
“What I like most about this type of business is that as Basotho we always import everything. So I wanted to do it so that we can stop importing toothpicks and pegs that we can produce locally,” he says.

He says he carefully selected a business that would not require a lot of start-up capital.
“I would not let lack of capital stand in my way,” he says.

Thooe Ramolibeli


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