Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
NATIONAL University of Science and Technology (Nust) first year BCom student studying business management, Moses Nyathi, has no memory of his parents.
In what reads like a sad movie script, Nyathi was abandoned in the bush along Limpopo River in Beitbridge by his mother when he was only a month old.
His mother could have probably dumped him before illegally crossing the border into South Africa.
Nyathi’s cries in the woods were heard by a passerby who subsequently reached out and discovered him wrapped in a towel and that was in 2000.
He was then taken to the police station and later checked over by doctors at Beitbridge District Hospital. Nyathi was subsequently taken to Queen Elizabeth Adventist Children’s Home in Bulawayo, a home for orphans, abused and abandoned children.
He later moved to John Smale Children’s Home in Barham Green in Bulawayo, a Government funded orphanage that cares for orphaned children by providing shelter, guidance, clothing and food.
That is the brief childhood story of the 21-year-old Nyathi, a student-cum-entrepreneur now running a thriving industrial detergent manufacturing firm in Bulawayo’s Kelvin North industrial area.
The company which is called Lasaru (Pvt) Ltd draws its name from an orphanage in Burnside, Lasaru Orphanage, a charity organisation that adopted Nyathi and funded his education. The non-profit making organisation provides basic requirements for orphaned and other vulnerable children.
As a form of appreciation for their gesture, Nyathi decided to register his company under the name “Lasaru.”
Growing up at the children’s home, Nyathi showed a lot of promise at an early age. Despite all his personal setbacks, he excelled academically resulting in Lasaru Orphanage offering to assist him pursue his childhood dream of owning a company.
He developed a keen interest towards setting up his own business and through the support and encouragement from the orphanage, Nyathi’s dream has turned into reality.
He sells his products to local supermarkets and service stations among others.
Nyathi said although Lasaru Orphanage is still assisting him in terms of shelter among other basic needs, proceeds from his business go towards paying his tuition fees.
He employs four people, two of whom are orphans at Sandra Jones Centre, a home for sexually and physically abused children in Waterford, Bulawayo. The other two are ordinary Bulawayo residents.
The company manufactures toilet cleaners and disinfectants, dish washing liquids, shower gel, petroleum jelly and scouring powder.
“I started this business in July this year in Belmont before we moved to Kelvin North. When we started the sales were low since we were new players in the market, but through marketing our products on social media platforms, there was an improvement,” said Nyathi.
“We visited shops and marketed our detergents and initially some buyers were sceptical but after trying our products, they became regular clients and we now supply supermarkets and service stations in Bulawayo, Gweru and Harare.”
Nyathi said the company is on a growth trajectory despite competition from established manufacturers.
“We started a group with my friends at Nust and among those we had, some were studying chemical engineering and they trained us to do these products using various formulas.
‘Through that experience of working as a team, I developed my own formula and subsequently ventured into this business,” he said.
“For me venturing into business is dream come true because that was what I aspired from a tender age.
“When I enrolled at Nust I already had an idea to start my own business.”
Nyathi said he was optimistic that his company will have its market share and compete with large manufacturers in the country.
“Our long-term plan is to expand the company and diversify in terms of investments.
“We want to introduce more products such a sanitisers, floor and shoe polish and degreasers. My vision is to explore regional markets before ultimately going globally,” he said.
“Part of my fees come from the profits that we are making.”
Nyathi said given his upbringing, he felt obliged to help empower orphans through creating employment for them.
“I consider myself an orphan because I was abandoned in the bush by my mother when I was a month old, which is why I want people in that predicament to be empowered.
‘‘We are also teaching them how to start similar businesses,” he said.
Nyathi attributes his success to hardwork, determination and commitment.
He said his upbringing at Queen Elizabeth Adventist Children’s Home and John Smale Children’s Home created a solid foundation for hardwork.
“I also commend Lasaru Orphanage for taking care of my education.
‘‘One should have a positive mind and as a person who grew up in a children’s home, I believe the past does not determine one’s destiny,” said Nyathi.
He attended Milton Junior and Amavene Primary School in Bulawayo before proceeding to Founders High School. — @mashnets