Lubeni Sinoxolo was born and raised in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, in a community where the concept of the Internet, is seldom understood. When he moved to Masakhane nearly 10 years ago, he was introduced to this concept and taught how to use computers in school. Despite utilising these tools in the classroom, he and his peers had no access to them outside of the classroom.
His passion for using computers and acquiring computer skills grew quickly and his mother bought him a laptop so that he could continue learning. Lubeni, however, was much more fortunate than most people in the township, who had little to no access to computers for school work and developing technical skills. Lubeni identified this problem and saw the opportunity to solve it by creating an Internet Café that would not only benefit students, like himself, but also the rest of the Maskhane community. As soon as this idea had been planted in his mind, he was determined to make this dream a reality and began to work diligently on a business plan.
When a local teacher informed Lubeni of the Grootbos Foundation’s Careers, Employability and Enterprise programme funded by Absa, he jumped at the opportunity to attend, eager to learn more about how to run and manage a successful business. “At the camp there were a lot of different people with different personalities. Being able to work alongside these people helped me to gain more knowledge that I could apply to my own business ideas. I was able to learn all of the small details that go into running a small business and working with the Grootbos Foundation helped me immensely.”
Less than a year later, thanks to funding from Absa, Lubeni’s Internet Café is up and running in the Masakhane Township. Open every day from 8am-10pm, Lubeni is at his Internet café providing not only Internet to his customers, but also assisting them in advancing their own computer skills. His main objective in his business is to offer his community the opportunity to gain skills that can help them become more employable as well as to support his family.
In the future, Lubeni wishes to return to his home in the Eastern Cape and work with local schools, teaching children how to use computers. He hopes to become a qualified computer educator and teach children for free. He believes in the importance of giving back to your community and hopes to continue helping students, like himself, in gaining the skills necessary to become employable and inspire them to accomplish their goals.