Mamokete reaps what she sews

2015-08-26 06:00
Thabo Mokoena


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TSHESENG. – At 66 years old Mamokete Elizabeth Makhatisa is still going strong with her sewing business that she started 45 years ago.

Makhatisa was only 21 years old when she started her business and since then it has grown from strength to strength.

The interesting thing about this hard-working woman is she first started selling vegetables at a young age before she saw an opportunity in sewing.

Even though she dropped out of school in gr. 6, Makhatisa never gave up in life.

Express Eastern Free State

visited her to find out more about her interesting story.Tell us more about yourself.

I am from a small village called Sejwalejwale in Tsheseng.

I am a humble person who is willing to learn at all times. I am a woman who fears God.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on the Three Hoek Farm near Excelsior. I then relocated to Qwaqwa in 1974.H

ow was it growing up?

As I said before, I grew up on a farm; everything was under the good care of my parents who taught me how to respect others and how to cook.

We had to cook for ourselves after school because our parents would be working then.

Tell us about your school career.

I actually have nothing serious to tell about my school career, because I dropped out at std 4 (gr. 6). At the time education was never taken seriously. Things on a farm were more important than anything.

Babysitting, planting and fetching wood in the bush were important.

When and where did you start working?

I don’t want to lie. I have never worked for anyone or a company. I have always been my own boss.

So how and when did you venture into the business industry?

I started the sewing business in the 1970s. But before that I sold vegetables with my late father. After that he gave me a piece of land to plant crops. I fell in love with that and I made a living from it. While I was busy with that he bought me a sewing machine. I then had to run two businesses at the same time until I focused more on the sewing.

What did you want to be while you were at school?

I wanted to be a teacher. I was a brilliant child at school and the teachers told me that I was clever for my age. However, that dream was never realised.

So why didn’t you follow your dream?

I am sorry to say it, but when you grow up on a farm you aim low. There was actually no hope.

What encouraged you to start your current business?

To be honest, Qwaqwa taught me many things. I saw more women in society, selling different vegetables, chickens and other things. I then realised that I should also follow in their footsteps to be successful. I made it because my father was very supportive of me.

I am sure it was not easy to start, but how did you manage it?

Patience and hard work were key to my success. I worked night and day. It was very hard, but I knew what I wanted.

Are you happy with the support you are getting from local customers?

I am very happy. They call me the only grandmother who does the job to the fullest.

They even call me when I am at home, pleading for my help when I am off. So, the customer should always be treated as if they are special and I always help them.

If you are not at work how do you spend your free time?

I spend it in my garden because I love it. I like to cook during most of my free time.

August is Women’s Month, what message do you have for other women who will want to start their own business?

My message to them is to follow their dreams. They should start those businesses now.

But please, they must not rush for profit, they must take it step by step until it grows.

Nothing can stop them, no matter what kind of a business it might be. Always involve God on a daily basis

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