Only 20 minutes from the magnificent Table Mountain and the lures of Cape Town’s tourist attractions, sits of one of the Western Cape’s poorest townships. Rife with violence and the hopelessness that comes with being out of work, Vrygrond is not a natural choice for many entrepreneurs to set up shop. But then Janine Roberts is not your average business owner. In an effort to address South Africa’s long-term unemployment problem, she launched a co-packing enterprise and incubation program that empowers micro-entrepreneurs from the area. Ukama Holdings is a successful social business model that supports not only those who work directly in the family but also more than 120 township children who benefit from the Ukama Community Foundation’s feeding program.
“Ukama is Shona for ‘we are family’. It’s a word that encompasses our inclusive philosophy and outlook,” Roberts explains. “This is my life’s purpose. I’ve been privileged to have so many wonderful moments – every day is new and interesting and we do a lot of laughing and learning – but the best thing is seeing people become who they should have been all along.” (more…)