Kasi businesses crucial to growth of struggling local economy

Kasi businesses, worth more than R400-billion, have always played a significant role in the local economy.

Castle Lager brand director, Wendy Bedforth, said there is a massive opportunity to unlock the potential for these businesses to grow, noting that spaza shops contribute 5.2% to South Africa’s gross domestic product while employing 2.6-million people, according to the 2021 South African Township Marketing Report published by Roger Wilco.

Development and investment in these businesses is key, she said, be it a spaza shop, hair salon, or shisa nyamas.

Bedforth said through their recently launched #ItsWithin campaign, the Castle Lager brand will be contributing towards uplifting local businesses to the benefit of the township economy, all while paying tribute to South African communities.

“As Castle Lager, we want to ensure the success of these businesses to help ensure the rebuilding of the country, economy, business confidence, and most of all hope,” she said.

Bedforth added that investing in these businesses could also help alleviate unemployment.

She praised local businesses such as footwear brands Bathu and Drip, as well as denim brand TSHEPO Jeans. Bathu founder Theo Baloyi in June opened the brand’s 31st local retail outlet.

Rita Zwane, the owner of Imbizo Shisanyama Franchises, who was present at the #ItsWithin campaign, highlighted the importance of supporting kasi businesses through her own journey to entrepreneurial greatness that started with humble beginnings 25 years ago.

“Imbizo Shisanyama [then called Busy Corner] was established a quarter century ago and grew exponentially thanks to the support of the community of Tembisa, as customers and community members went out and spread its story and quality offerings through word of mouth,” said Zwane.

“Our success feels great, especially when you see mothers that you had empowered along the way through your proudly South African township business; supply you with items such as chakalaka or dumplings.

“Links such as these over time form into a shisa nyama ecosystem whereby you have many businesses around your own like a car wash or hair salon.”

Media personality and prominent businessman Sbusiso Leope, widely known by his stage name DJ Sbu, summed up the entrepreneurial drive that pushes many to start their own ventures.

“We grow up thinking the fire is outside and must come and save us, when in actual fact the fire is that burning desire to be more, create a business, support our family. When we support these township businesses, we enable that fire to spark and light up Mzansi with optimism and belief in a better and more prosperous tomorrow,” said Leope.

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