Young NUL graduate in manufacturing breakthrough



MASERU – The story of Kamohelo Pakela is evidence enough that it is only through passion and determination that a dream can be achieved. Since he was in primary school, Pakela has always dreamt of being one of the most internationally recognised entrepreneurs to come out of Lesotho. He was introduced to the business world by his mother, and at a very young age he used to sell sweets to his peers at school and that became the impetus that fanned his entrepreneurial dream and grew his passion immensely.

Pakela now sees no other way of living, other than being an entrepreneur in the manufacturing sector. He says he started selling anything he could lay his hands on; from sweets to ice cream and all other delicacies that his peers loved before spreading his wings and making a notable impact in the manufacturing industry, which has always been his ultimate goal.

Throughout his business journey, Pakela has explored numerous projects in which he had an interest to take to a new level. However, the maize crackers manufacturing business has come out on top of everything else he has contemplated doing. After discovering the abundance of maize the country produces, in 2018 Pakela started a company named Boleng Pty (Ltd), which manufactures maize crackers named ‘Taste cracker’.

The company has 11 employees and produces a minimum of 1 200 kg and maximum of 2 400kg of maize crackers on a monthly basis. The maize crackers come in a variety of flavours and textures. From soft, crispy and those with a texture between crispy and soft.

Pakela believes that the texture in-between is what makes his maize crackers unique as there is none like them in the market. These crackers are blended with local spices and come in cheese, smoked barbeque and sticky barbeque flavours.

He currently supplies street vendors around the country’s main towns who buy in bulk to resell and Pakela says demand for his product keeps increasing on daily basis. To meet the demand, he is in the process of manufacturing a bigger maize cracker’s producing machinery and is also in the process of getting a trader’s license for his company so that he can supply a larger market.

Pakela is a man with many talents since he is also a machinery manufacturer, and uses the machinery he manufactures himself to produce the crackers. He plans to manufacture more machines that he will sell locally and even export. Reflecting on his business journey, Pakela further notes that all he has achieved are results of sacrifices, hard work and passion.

He started the business with minimal capital; money that he saved through years of walking the streets selling so he started small and grew as years went by. Due to financial constraints he started by producing a few packets and is proud to announce that as of today, he is enjoying returns from his hard work, and his company has grown beyond his expectation.

The snacks are produced locally from scratch and he believes that in time he will beat all the international competitors producing maize crackers. According to the manufacturer, he has received a lot of international calls from businesses interested in his product with Botswana being one of the countries that has shown interest in the product.

However, there has not been sufficient interest from Lesotho yet. He believes that if as a country Lesotho gives more support to local manufacturers and restricts the importation of some commodities that are available in the country, more people will be encouraged to increase production and supply the country.

He says the Covid-19 pandemic has, of late, proven to him the need for Basotho to invest in production and not to depend on other countries. Pakela also observes that the country’s education system gives youth enough theory that can help them start their own businesses.

He further notes that tertiary schools introduce youth to different projects that are meant to prepare them for the business industry, emphasising that youth need to use skills they learnt from schools, think outside of the box and be as innovative as possible.

Pakela has experienced his share of challenges along the way, with money being the biggest of them but that has not stopped him from pursuing his dream and taking business risks. Non-operational of the National Standard Institution is another challenge that Pakela encounters. He is forced to have his product tested at the National University of Lesotho’s (NUL) laboratories or take it across the border to South Africa for testing. He says the challenge with NUL laboratories is that testing is done manually and results are not precise while South Africa laboratories cost him huge sums of money.

Pakela believes that Lesotho needs a lot of manufacturers focused on exporting some of the commodities and urges the government to invest more in manufacturing. He advises people who want to venture into manufacturing industry to start with the little they have and grow along the way. “People should not wait for funds or sponsorship as that will kill their dreams. They should start with what they have,” he advises. He also encourages youth to work together towards a common goal to win in the industry.

“Seeking help and working together towards a certain goal is still a sure way to win in the manufacturing industry,” he adds. His crackers manufacturing business is located at Roma Mafikeng. Apart from manufacturing maize crackers, he also runs a restaurant. Pakela is a bachelor aged 25 who was born in Mohale’s Hoek but grew up in Mafeteng where he currently resides. He went to Mafeteng ACE Primary School, did his high school at Mt Tabor High School and Hope High School. After completing high school, he enrolled with the NUL where he studied for a BSc General degree, majoring in science and mathematics.


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