THE FOUNDER and chief executive of Township Fleva, an independent social-entrepreneurship programme in Orange Farm, is keen to turn youngsters from poverty~stricken households into captains of industry. Rashuping Morake, referred to as Rush in township parlance, has been running the non-profit enterprise in Joburg’s Region G for more than nine years in a bid to create economically sustainable residents.
Morake’s initiative focuses on providing youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds with access to post-matric education, healthcare services and socio-economic skills to enable them to be employable. “Our enterprise and supplier development programme is about inspiring young people to pursue entrepreneurship as this is the cure to the high unemployment rate we face,” he explains Township Fleva also provides young people with learnership opportunities, helping them to gain work experience in different career fields. “We run a business incubation programme that supports, trains, mentors, coaches and offers business resources to entrepreneurs free of charge to help them get established,” he adds.
Rush started the community programme in 2012 as Rhiza Babuyile, offering poorer residents of Orange Farm academic courses in call centre etiquette, information and communi- cation technology (KIT), agri-process- ing and production (farming), as well as fashion design After realising that those enrolled in the fashion design programme were unable to access the market, Morake created a subsidiary enterprise, Township Fleva, in 2016 to facilitate market entry.
“My journey started with one question, where are the ‘grootmans’ (uncle or older brother) in our community who can lead socio-economic change? “I had a pit in my stomach when the answer was, ‘I am that grootman’. Township Fleva operates from the Afrika Tikkun centre in Orange Farm’s extension 8B and has had more than 500 beneficiaries since its inception. The social enterprise is currently administering a five-year deal to supply Woolworths with Christmas socks, Easter bags and Valentine’s clothing. Rather than provide Township Fleva with monetary support, Woolworths offers the enterprise clothing with factory faults to sell within the Orange Farm community Morake uses this opportunity as a temporary fund- ing mechanism while looking for other sources of money.
He has also partnered with Discovery, Old Mutual, and the Industrial Development Corporation to breed more business people, and is working closely with ABSA Bank, Yes4Youth, and Afrika Tikkun to reach and develop other social entrepreneurs. Bafana Kecha is one of the beneficiaries of Township Fleva, and currently spearheads its fashion design programme as a supervisor. Kecha says his dedication and pas-sion for fashion is what drove him to join Township Fleva and he will forever be thankful to Morake for the opportunity, which came when he did not have meaningful work.
“If it wasn’t for Rhiza Babuyile and Township Fleva, I don’t think I would be here doing what I love. They have opened a lot of doors for me, and I have grown as a person and professionally. This is what I have wanted to pursue for the longest time,” he says. An upcoming fashion guru and visual artist, Kecha owns a local brand called Kumkani which he started after joining Township Fleva. He says the brand is well received by locals and even tourists from across the world have shown support on social media.
Morake hopes to continue changing the lives of young people through the support and partnership of corpo- rate organisations that want to bring change to the lives of disadvantaged people in Orange Farm.