Award-Winning Author, student and entrepreneur. Muimeleli, a master’s degree in chemical engineering graduate from Wits in the field of ‘sustainable process engineering’, is also a PhD candidate in Business Process Innovation at UJ. His two entities as an entrepreneur include Ink Matter (a publishing company focusing on publishing youth empowerment books by emerging authors) and Tailor Cleanik (a chemical technology start-up that designs and manufactures green detergents and offers deep cleaning services). Tailor Cleanik also collects shoes and donates them to charities and has a social initiative where they assist unemployed and unemployable youth to start their own shoe cleaning businesses.
Muimeleli balances out his entrepreneurship activities between science, management consulting for SMMEs and art!
What do you think the challenges are in building a more harmonious South Africa?
Some of the challenges Muimeleli believes are still prominent in South Africa, is Poverty. This poverty is caused by the high unemployment rate and the lack of economic opportunities in South Africa. ‘People are hungry’, he says. This leads to crime in order to feed themselves and their families. ‘I believe that this is one of the biggest challenges in building a more harmonious South Africa as it disturbs the peace of the country’.
How do you and your organisation engage this process of change?
‘Prioritising change is important’ says Muimeleli. ‘On the one side, my publishing house truly does offer first-time authors the opportunity to get their work out there. Publishing their work doesn’t just benefit the writer monetarily, but the content also contributes to changing the life of the reader. The work we publish provides readers to see real-life examples of people who have achieved and overcome specific challenges facing the youth of today. The readers can see work from people they relate to and look up to someone just like them. All our authors so far come from humble beginnings and that resonates with a lot of people in the country’.
How do you see the way forward for our country?
For the way forward, Muimeleli believes that we need to address poverty by creating economic opportunities in South Africa. This can be done by providing our youth with skill sets and education. Education is one of the key problem-solvers and provides incredible opportunities.
‘If you think about it, I’m still unemployed” – but, Muimeleli continues, “I have been able to create a successful and stable life for myself by creating my own job opportunities. With the skillset that education has given me, I was able to create my own future’.
Can you briefly name a few of the opportunities you had while growing up?
One of the opportunities Muimeleli is grateful for is the fact he was able to go through fee-free government schools throughout his schooling career. Coming from an extremely rural area, I was given the opportunity to go to school even when my family could not afford it. I was then able to go to university through scholarships and hard work, hence I was able to get to where I am now.
Any words of advice to those who feel as if all hope is gone?
‘There is always something you can do’, says Muimeleli. ‘You can be good at anything in the world if you only put your mind to it and be consistent in working on it. Sometimes you are going through something that someone probably has gone through before. Sometimes you could be doing the exact same thing that someone else has done. If possible, find that person and ask for advice and help. See what they did to overcome their challenges and let that guide you. All you need to do is just decide. Decide what it is that you want to be doing – and do it.