By Rumbidzai Ngwenya
Blessing Makunde (26) of Goromonzi only attended school up to Grade Five. His parents were poor and could not afford to pay school fees for him and his siblings. Life after Grade Five was unimaginable as the little boy struggled to earn a living. He had to grow very fast to become a man, without proper education it was difficult for him to get a job. The only alternative was to do self-taught jobs.
Makumbe started taking an interest in welding as one of the available options. At the age of 19, he fast turned into a professional welder. With vast experience and skills acquired over time, he is now the best in Goromonzi.
He has a welding shop at Mwanza shopping centre and the business is growing. He welds anything that is there and earns a decent living out of it.
“I became a welder by default,” chuckles Makunde.
“I never really wanted to do this, but I realised it was a gateway to a better life. I’m quite satisfied with what I have accomplished, considering the rough start I had. I am doing well,” he said.
“The life I have lived made me the hard worker I am today. I also want to get my children educated so that even if they decide to be entrepreneurs they will have some life skills for survival.”
He said if he could have capital, he dreams of expanding his business and open as many shops as he can across Zimbabwe.
“My challenge is lack of capital to grow. You see, with the prevailing economic situation it is difficult for small businesses like mine to grow. I need loans and other support to improve my trade skills,” he said.
“Also because of lack of cash in the country, it becomes a bit of a challenge. Although the business is beginning to embrace plastic money, I still face a few challenges in getting raw materials.”
Although the past may have determined his career path, he is making the best out of it. He takes pride in what he does to earn a living. To him welding is a talent that God gave him.
“They say ‘you can’t have it all’, well it may be true. I am not educated, but certainly talented. I even do better than those who have gone to a welding school,” he said.
Most people in Goromonzi rely on Makunde for most of their welding works. And truly, he doesn’t disappoint.