Ramaphosa lauds COVID-defying enterprising youth

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

JOHANNESBURG – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed the ingenuity and resilience demonstrated by young entrepreneurs as South Africa battles the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

He lauded them for seizing the opportunities opening up as the country sought to deal with the so-called new normal in daily lives.

“I am very pleased at the combination of foresight, creativity and business acumen displayed by a number of young South Africans who are coming up with home-grown solutions to the contemporary challenges we face,” Ramaphosa said.

He mentioned that some have started small business ventures because of personal circumstances, like losing their jobs.

“Others who were previously unemployed have seized the opportunity provided by the pandemic to create their own income.”

Ramaphosa cited the example of Cloudy Deliveries in Langa, Cape Town.

A group of youth run the bicycle delivery service ferrying goods from the shops to the homes of residents in the township.

During the lockdown, they have focused their operations on doing shopping for the elderly who have been encouraged to remain at home.

There is also 28-year-old Election Xitsakiso Baloyi from Mankweng in Limpopo.

His pizza-making hobby turned into a fully-fledged business. With the lockdown preventing people from eating out, he got an avalanche of queries from community members asking if he was selling his pizzas.

Rabbit’s Pizza, started with his savings of just R1 000 but now employs nine other young people and delivers not just in Mankweng but also in nearby Nwamitwa and Giyani.

There are plans to open new outlets in other rural communities and employ more young people in Baloyi’s area.

Ponani Shikweni, 32, from Alexandra township in Gauteng has repurposed her linen manufacturing business to produce face masks. She now employs 35 people, most of whom are under 25.

She produces more than 1 000 masks a day to order. Her business has already distributed over 20 000 cloth masks for free to residents of Alexandra.

18-year-old Judy Jay, a DJ and rising star from Sekhukhune, is also enterprising.

Her watch parties during the lockdown have attracted the attention of major local and international radio stations, enabling her to promote and grow her brand.

Ramaphosa said the creative and enterprising spirit of these and many more young people that have been brought to the fore during the pandemic must be harnessed and supported.

“Even in our darkest hour, we must look to these green shoots of renewal. They are the silver lining to the dark COVID-19 cloud.”

– CAJ News

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