Ntuthuko Shezi (32) is a young South African entrepreneur, and one of the 46 young South Africans who spent six weeks in the US. He is now back, having gained additional knowledge and skills in business administration and entrepreneurship. He is eager to share his knowledge and opportunities with other young South Africans, and will be doing so, drawing on his experience of establishing and running a panel beating shop.
Ntuthuko and his partner Lerato Tshabalala have been granted R200, 000 by the US Embassy to offer free auto body repair training to unskilled workers in Gauteng Province. These skills enable them to seek jobs in an industry with entry level wages over R15, 000 per month. “I want to impart the knowledge and skills that I learnt in the United States to my fellow South Africans so that they are able to learn how to start their own businesses.” He will train 20 young South Africans, beginning next year.
Shezi grew up in rural Ndwedwe in KwaZulu-Natal with his single mother, a teacher who sold sweets, fish and vetkoek for extra money at the school at which she worked, with Shezi often helping her.
His grandparents kept cows for milk and grew their own fruit and vegetables. The family had no electricity. This led Ntuthuko to aspire to change both his and his family’s life for good.
Scratch Mobile, Ntuthuko’s brain-child, offers panel beating, spray painting and auto glass repairs and replacements to vehicles left at OR Tambo Airport while their owners are away on travel.
It is the first business of its kind. Shezi has his eye on expansion, as its success has been exceptional. The business fixes between 170 and 200 cars every month and has a turnover of a millions a year.
Mandela Washington Fellowship
Shezi urges young South Africans to apply for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship so they too can learn about projects that improve public management, entrepreneurship, and civic leadership skills.
Applications opened on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 and close on November 5, 2014.
To apply to become a Mandela Washington Fellow and grow your dreams like Shezi, visit http://yali.state.gov.