By Tawanda Forgive Dube
Through a post by journalist Hopewell Chin’ono it came to my attention that a packet of dried mangoes is selling for US$20 at OR Tambo airport.
Then I got thinking of the rotting mangoes in my rural Bocha village and the huge market for achaar in SA townships – I bet it goes into millions of tonnes annually. And we idly look at other people exploiting these opportunities.
This other day I hitchhiked from Harare to Mutare. A top of the line Mercedes-Benz stopped and the guys I was with feared to approach the driver for a ride. The assumption was that someone with such a car would not accept the US$5 we were prepared to pay, and a stereotypical fear that such a person might kidnap you for ritual sacrifices.
But I like things so I got in, and I couldn’t possibly let such an opportunity of being driven for 200 miles in a luxury car slip away.
The driver was very interested in what I do for a living and I increasingly got uncomfortable – someone rich asking you what you do and your aspirations when all you are trying to do is make it to tomorrow. Then he told me that he was a Judge – that struck a cord: it sort of made sense why he could afford such a car. He was corrupt I concluded.
But then he started telling me about his banana farm in Honde Valley, invited me to it too. And i got that ride for free, he even bought drinks along the way.
When I visited his farm it dawned upon me that bananas are a million dollar industry. And they can sponsor a house in an exclusive neighborhood and poshy car – things most young entrepreneurs aspire to possess.
Through him I got acquainted to another gentleman who has built an empire from macadamia nuts. You don’t read about such people everyday. What they do might not make sense everytime. They might not feature in the press. But such stories are around us everyday.
There is so much potential to make money, even from the things we suppose are simple and trivial.
As my O’level Biology teacher used to say, “Observe and record.”