A passion for plants leads to a thriving business

2007-12-27 00:00

HAVING spent 14 years working at Jesmond Dene Nursery, Ambries Mbanjwa was highly skilled with plants and he decided to transfer those skills into his own business in the France area, which is an informal settlement just outside Pietermaritzburg.

The 37-year-old father of two children has, amid all the poverty and the high rate of unemployment and teenage pregnancy in the area, made positive strides in improving the area and making it a greener place to live.

Mbanjwa started his nursery business in 2005 which has developed into a facility with the potential to attract tourists driving along the R56, and is also making enough money to support his family.

“In the early nineties I started working in a nursery and that’s where I fell in love with plants. My dream was to have and run my own nursery which is what I have achieved today,” he said.

He saw his dream being realised two years ago, with about 50 plants that he had bought. He tended them and sold them to customers on the R56. This went on until he found his own premises from which he now works. His new premises are at the house that belonged to his late sister. “This is more than just a business for me, it’s like my baby,” he enthused.

As a new idea in the Pietermaritzburg black community, the business is producing good dividends for Mbanjwa, who has also been able to attract tourists as the business does not only sell plants and flowers, but craft work and manure as well.

he also hires and supplies plants and flowers for weddings and


He has a motto, which he uses to motivate aspiring business people: “Vuk’uzenzele”, which means stand up and do it for yourself.

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