Kawamba Mwitumba, owner of Lilongwe-based Mundizo Products, a small-scale company that makes assorted wooden items, is now eyeing the South African market for his products.
Based at Chinsapo II in Lilongwe, Mundizo Products is a proud maker of wooden shoes which are also known as clogs; handbags, wooden buttons, earrings as well as wooden spoons, knives and folks. He also makes wooden electric extensions.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mwitumba said he has learnt that there is a market for his products in South Africa and is planning to go there between May and June this year to sell some of his items.
“I am not sure what exactly they would be interested to buy, but I will just carry different items for them to choose from,” he said.
Locally, Mwitumba said, he is selling a lot of items, citing, for instance, some machines that he sold to a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Salima that focuses on women empowerment.
“I sold two machines for peanut butter processing and four general purpose machines to this NGO,” he said.
For the peanut butter processing machine, Mwitumba charges K85 000; the general purpose machine is at K55 000 and it can be used for making spoons, knives and other things.
He also makes candle making machines which he sells at K55 000, plastic paper sealing machines for K55 000 and also shoemaking machines.
He now harbours plans of coming up with toothpick making machines, considering that Malawi still imports toothpicks.
Mwitumba is a former primary school teacher who quit teaching to explore his technological skill.
His passion to create things dates back to his primary school days at Ngolowindo in Salima where he learned woodwork and metalwork.
That, coupled with lessons from his teaching training at Domasi Teachers Training College (TTC) in Zomba, he started making different items.
“Looking at the volume of imported technology in the country, I would ask myself how I could use the knowledge I attained in primary school to better the lives of Malawians by producing quality goods using locally available resources. I then quit teaching and ventured into carpentry and joinery, making wooden doors, window frames and other things,” he said.
Added Mwitumba: “Still I was not impressed. I wanted to do something big. So one day I saw a lady wearing wooden shoes; she told me they were imported and expensive. I designed a machine for to start making wooden shoes locally, and the rest is history.”
His dream is to see Malawi using locally-made machines to save forex.