Unisa Press

The Journey of the Soweto Entrepreneur since 1905

Author: Edited by Dr Thami Mazwai
Published: April 30, 2024
ISBN: 978-1-77615-196-7
This book is not available in electronic format

About the book

Entrepreneurship is not only about the individual, but also about the critical roles played by role models and what we learn from them in the social environment in which we live. Thus, this book brings to the fore the stories of the first entrepreneurs in Soweto, such as Thomas Ntlebi, Josiah Sibiya, Mweli Skota and later Connie Ntshona, Richard Maponya, Esther Nyembezi and Ephraim Tshabalala. Through their experiences in different sectors, the book narrates how they pursued their entrepreneurial aspirations and braved naked racism, embedded legislation and opposition from the governments of the day and triumphed. Their struggle epitomises the lives of various entrepreneurs in numerous environments throughout the world, who have always operated in environments that are fraught with obstacles and challenges of all forms, yet the real quest has been how they have conquered these elements.


For the first time, the lion, rather than the hunter, is telling its story through this book and is doing so with the sole objective of reminding the current and future generations of their responsibility in growing the South African economy so that the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality can be met head-on. Their stories serve as a reminder that economic sufficiency usually comes from a personal journey that has a multiplier effect for others to benefit as jobs get created. The goal is to ensure that we never forget our pioneers, instead, we should take the baton from them. While the generation of 1976, in the broadest sense, made its contribution to our political liberation, the challenge facing the current generation beyond 2023, also in its broadest sense, is to ensure our economic emancipation.


Dr Thami Mazwai is a former student activist, journalist, editor and currently, a researcher on small business. His passion is on transformation that eradicates poverty, unemployment and inequality (PUI) at the bottom of the pyramid.