Old Mutual Legends Programme
The Old Mutual Foundation has invested over R9 million in the Old Mutual Legends Programme since 2007. Partnering with Fetola & Associates, Legends specialises in taking high-potential craft and small-scale manufacturing initiatives and transforming them into financially sustainable and fully functioning businesses. In 2010 and 2011, the Old Mutual Legends Programme was a finalist in the Mail & Guardian Investing in the Future Awards.
Willard Musarurwa (33) is a big man with an easy smile. His business, Feeling African, makes funky colourful wire craftworks and furniture which are sold locally and exported to the US, Canada, UK and France. Willard is married to Anna and they have two sons, Kelly (8) and newborn Tyrone. I wonder how much sleep Willard’s been getting lately.
Zimbabwean by birth, Willard came to South Africa in 2000 looking for greener pastures. Settling down on one of his hand-crafted stools, he recounts his story. “I had a dream for my own business. When I came to Cape Town, it wasn’t easy, I looked for a job but couldn’t find one. I used to make wire key rings, fruit bowls, even tortoises – people really loved those. I would sell them at night on Long Street in the clubs.” At night? He grins, “when people are drunk it’s the best time to sell.”
He survived those tough times, and in 2008 his business was accepted as a beneficiary on the Old Mutual Legends Programme. Now Willard has access to a professional business support network, regularly exhibits in trade shows, employs six full-time wire workers and pulls in extra workers when there are really big orders. “And we’ve been able to buy a bakkie,” he adds proudly.
He wants to be a role model for young people in the townships. “You don’t always have to go out and look for jobs, you can start your own business!”