“This will help my business grow in the long term”

By |2024-02-16T10:14:51+01:00February 16th 2024|Gender and Inequalities|

Meet Mpho Mojakwe – one of the five female traders selected to use the newly launched Trader’s Hub in Galeshewe for their daily business. By Ryan Hoffmann

Find out, what has happened since URBANET’s last report on Galeshewe’s trader’s hub:

For Mpho Mojakwe the launch of the new Galeshewe Active Box and Traders’ Hub is an opportunity to grow her business. The project also helps her contribute to the revival of one of South Africa’s oldest and most impoverished townships: Galeshewe, outside of Kimberley in the Northern Cape. As the traditional economic activities in the province, mining and agriculture, recede, Galeshewe, like many areas in the province, suffers from a high unemployment rate, especially amongst young people. This in turn contributes to other issues such as increased alcohol and substance abuse along with interpersonal violence.

The photo shows multiple red and pink painted shipping containers.

The facility was constructed using upcycled shipping containers and other sustainable methods. © GIZ

Mpho Mojakwe was trading at the taxi rank in Kimberley’s Central Business District before. However, she was enticed to move her business back into the centre of Galeshewe as the site offers new beginnings and possibilities to expand her business. “The taxi rank was safe, but it was very informal, and all trade would cease at 5 pm once people started making their way home. I was attracted to the trader’s hub, because it’s in Galeshewe, closer to the people so business is likely to increase,” explains Mojakwe.

Mpho Mojakwe stands outside of the container

Female trader Mpho Mojakwe in front of the hub © GIZ

Nearby SMME Village Provides Business Opportunities

Her food services business V-Shen – a wordplay on “vision” – is now situated at a well-designed, safe, and attractive facility along Galeshewe’s main corridor, which links the township to Kimberley’s central business district. “Here I have more stability and the link to the local SMME village will also help me to grow my business more professionally.”

The SMME Village is a so-called business incubation centre for small, medium, and micro-enterprises (SMMEs). The female traders are all enrolled in the SMME village’s incubation programme. This programme supports them in developing their businesses and provides access to marketing and enterprise development services. Additionally, the programme serves as a networking platform that connects the participants with similar businesses.

A construction worker is building a brick wall.

The site features murals by a local artist and the traditional clay brick construction. © GIZ

The hub’s operations are all linked to the SMME village to ensure its sustainability. Moreover, there is hope that the new trader’s hub works as a catalyst to revive economic activity along the corridor between Galeshewe and Kimberly. Due to its design, the hub also serves as an example of innovative, sustainable construction which is responsive to local conditions.

Sustainable Construction Using Traditional Building Techniques

The traders’ hub is constructed from recycled shipping containers in continuation of the environmental sustainability objective of the project. The connecting walls between the containers are built using clay bricks, a reference to the traditional building technique which has been used in the area since the 1800s. The structure contains small lockable shops and a service hub with an elevated viewpoint to provide a janitor and local Neighbourhood Watch Groups (NWG) good oversight of the area. The viewpoint can also be used as a meeting space for community groups.

The gender-specific needs of the traders were also centred throughout the construction and the hub includes essential infrastructure such as electricity connections, water and sanitation facilities, storage space and WiFi hotspots.

Clay bricks in some sort of wooden mask

Young people from the area were trained to manufacture traditional clay bricks, which were used in the construction of some elements of the Active Box. © GIZ

The clay brick construction work was done by young people from Galeshewe who were trained in manufacturing the clay bricks using sustainable techniques. In a further nod to sustainability, the area surrounding the hub features water-smart plants and gardens designed for the semi-arid conditions of the province, including a rooftop food garden at the site.

The wider project also includes a food garden component which promotes the nearby community hall as a multi-use and multi-functional space for community members, especially women and children. The food garden will supply local schools and households. The intervention also supports the mapping of the heritage assets and historical data around the active corridor that runs through Galeshewe, to support a heritage walk linked to the history of the area.

For Mpho Mojakwe, the development of the hub is an opportunity to breathe new life into Galeshewe, which like many areas in the Northern Cape has seen its fortunes reversed as the traditional economic drivers of mining and agriculture decline.

Ryan Hoffmann
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