Waste is her passion

By Drum Digital
28 July 2016

From collecting waste to running her own business, Buyelwa Mhonko Godze shares her rags-to-riches story with us

By Siyabonga Kamnqa

She could easily be mistaken for an ordinary waste management truck driver with her brown work suit, but the woman behind the wheel of this giant vehicle is anything but ordinary.

There was a time when she was mocked by men on the streets for doing a job that’s “meant for men”. “It was the typical township stereotype,” Buyelwa Mhonko Godze tells us. “But instead of discouraging me, it made me stronger. And look where I am today.”

Her strong will to survive against all odds has seen her go from collecting rubbish from the dusty streets of Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town, to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the business world.

She’s now at the helm of a multi-million rand waste management and security firm, Mhonko Waste Management and Security Services, that employs about 300 people from mostly impoverished communities of the Western Cape.

“You need to have a thick skin in order to survive in this industry, it’s not for the faint-hearted,” she tells us as she steps out of one of her trucks. During our visit to her site, Mhonko, as she’s affectionately known, demonstrates how she’s not shy to get her hands dirty and help out in her business.

One of her drivers called in sick and Mhonko has traded her fancy office suit for overalls and collecting and dumping waste.

For her, it comes naturally, she says, especially because she once worked as a rubbish collector and a cleaner before becoming a successful award-winning entrepreneur.

Read more in 4 August issue of DRUM

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