When challenges emerge in life, giving up is the easiest option.
But 30-year-old Davie Kachepa tells a different story. He faced his own share of challenges as a form four student in Machinga, but he did not allow the problems to hamper his dream of becoming independent financially.
Kachepa operates a shop at Blantyre Market where he sells different items ranging from belts, kitchen utensils, hardware materials and stationary.
“I had a dream to proceed with education up to tertiary level. But as soon as I obtained my Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) at Ntaja Secondary School, my parents divorced. My father married another woman and he was not interested in paying my school fees for tertiary education. The following year my mother died,” explains Kachepa.
Destitution did not stop Kachepa from pursuing his dream of running a successful business that could lead him to his ultimate goal of living an independent life.
“I sourced money amounting to K6 000 (US$14) and left my home, Matsaka Village, Traditional Authority Liwonde in Machinga, for Blantyre in 2000. I used this capital to start a small business of selling sweets and biscuits as a street vendor.
“Many people thought this was crazy considering that I hold a Malawi School Certificate of Education. But I used to tell them that education is not just about securing employment but also venturing into businesses so that we can create employment opportunities for others,” says Kachepa, who is married and has four children.
He says he has realised that entrepreneurship suits people who see something positive in every business endeavour.
“What motivated me to venture into the business was a desire to assist my struggling brother and sisters who were still in school. But when I started the business, I discovered that entrepreneurship is an interesting endeavour which an optimistic person cannot ignore. It is interesting to see money multiplying while at the same time satisfying the needs of consumers. At first I was buying my merchandise from wholesale shops within Blantyre town but now I travel to Tanzania and it is even more profitable that way,” he explains.
Apart from paying school fees for his brothers and sisters, Kachepa has managed to construct three good houses from his business’ proceeds.
“I have built a house for my wife’s parents and another house for my brothers and sisters in my home villate. In Blantyre, I stay at Chemusa Township where I have also built a four-bedroom house,” he says.
Kachepa is not satisfied with what he has achieved so far. He longs for a day when he will open a big shop in Lilongwe.
“Plans are underway for this dream to materialise. My simple research has shown that there is a huge market for my merchandise in Lilongwe,” he says.
This does not mean he will abandon his Blantyre shop.
“It’s just an expansion of the business,” he says.
One of the major challenges he has encountered in this business, he says, was the gutting down of Blantyre market in 2011.
“I will not forget that fire. I am one of the entrepreneurs who lost all of their merchandise in that fire. Had it not been for that incident, I would have already opened a big shop is Lilongwe,” says Kachepa who employs two people.