Among the few youthful Malawians who have put their educational skills to profitable use, is Davis Kansenza from Kasale Village, Traditional Authority Kwataine in Ntcheu.
Born in 1984, Kansenza is a force to reckon with in the industry manufacturing sofa sets in the Capital City Lilongwe.
Over time, his unique products have spilled to other regions in the country, making him a household name in the sofa-making industry.
After completing his secondary education at William Murray Secondary School, Kansenza was selected to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Technical Education at the Malawi Polytechnic between 2005 and 2008, and that was the beginning of his journey to success.
Today, he owns a business called Davina whose idea was hatched in the year 2011.The business specialises in designing modern sofa sets.
The name Davina is a short form of his first name, Davis, and Christina, his wife’s name. The two were classmates at the Polytechnic.
“When I was at school, part of the daily business was to learn wood and metal work skills. I was enthusiastic about wood techniques, particularly those related to furniture,” says Kansenza who is nicknamed ‘Davis the Sofa maker’ among his associates.
His products have a range of prices, with a minimum of K300 000 (about $750), but he says the prices are negotiable.
Kansenza, who is a full-time lecturer at Lilongwe Teachers Training College, says he is good at managing his time to avoid compromising his business and that of his employer.
He operates his workshop in a residential area of Falls near Calvary Family Church. He employs seven people.
A strong believer in the principle of local empowerment, Kansenza says he sources raw materials such as hardwood and fabric locally.
“Before each and every sofa set is made, I design it myself. It is all about the technical education skills that I learnt from school,” he says.
When asked about the successes of the business, a chuckling Kansenza says: “My life has greatly changed over the years and the welfare of my family and relatives has also improved owing to this business.”
He cites high demand for his products in recent times as one of the challenges he has to deal with saying there is mounting pressure on the business to meet the high demand.
“There is a need, of course by public demand, for me to open similar other shops in Blantyre and Mzuzu,” he says.
He encourages Malawians to support local businesses; a move, he says, will save foreign exchange for the importation of other crucial needs such as drugs and fuel.