Former gangster now makes eco-friendly cleaning products

2017-02-14 12:13
Entrepreneur Khululekani Nyobole with his environmentally friendly cleaning product range. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Entrepreneur Khululekani Nyobole with his environmentally friendly cleaning product range. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – "My biggest fear was that members of other gangs would come during the night and wipe out my family. There is nothing so petrifying."

That's what entrepreneur Khululekani Nyobole, 27, says about his days as a gangster in Cape Town.

He told Netwerk24 that his life had changed radically since then and that he had started his own business, Nurturer, in 2016. Nurturer makes affordable, environmentally friendly cleaning products. The products went on sale in February.

Nyobole, who grew up in Khayelitsha, said he'd been very aggressive from an early age.

"It all started when I was nine. My sister and I got into a scrap and I wanted to stab her. I was very aggressive toward my family. My parents felt it was getting out of hand and sent me to the Eastern Cape for a year to change my behaviour."

However, nothing changed, says Nyobole, and when he came back home, he started drinking alcohol and smoking. He joined a gang in 2003.

"My friend, or rather the 'boss', gave us guns and we then had to rob people.

"For me, the gang wasn't just a gang; they were my friends. Although I don't have contact with them anymore, they were my friends. Most of them have died, others are in prison, and some are still active gangsters."

From gangster to role model

Nyobole started doing drugs and abusing alcohol when he was in high school. That's when things started unravelling.

"I was in Grade 10 when I lost the plot. I used all sorts of drugs and became more involved in gang violence. I couldn't stay at my home in Khayelitsha, because people started looking for me there and it was no longer safe for my family."

Nyobole matriculated at Crystal Secondary School in Hanover Park, after failing Grade 10 three times.

"I'd always wanted to start my own business. I wanted a qualification. I wanted stability. That's when I decided to start Nurturer because the environment is close to my heart."

Nyobole saw light at the end of the tunnel.

"It was a challenge, but it was a challenge which I tackled and overcame.

"I'm now considered a role model and no longer a gangster."

Read more on:    cape town  |  entrepreneurs  |  environment  |  good news

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