A budding young businessman has set a trend for himself in entrepreneurship by recycling used shipping containers into affordable, luxurious homes.
26 year old Itumeleng Gatsby Lamola from Welkom in Free State but based in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, is chief executive and founder of Jafta Construction.
He started out by pursuing accounting degree studies at the Central University of Technology (CUV) but later dropped out after he lost interest in the subject. He went on to study a national diploma in information technology, software science and completed his studies in 2016.
This is about the time that Lamola developed an interest in stocks trading, majoring in JSE indices and indexes, before dabbling in forex trading. While visiting an uncle in Benoni, who ran Gone Away Construction, specialising in building malls and ordinary houses. Lamola says he helped out his uncle in the business by dusting off his basic accounting skills and doing bookkeeping for him and handling the payment of all his employees.
“That’s where my interest and knowledge in construction property development comes from,” he says, during an interview with Business Report. Having done his homework and armed with all the skill and expertise he earned while working for Gone Away Construction, Lamola ventured out on his own in January by establishing Jafta Construction.
The company turns shipping containers into fully furnished beautiful homes, with bedrooms ranging from two up to seven, with the price ranging from R80 000 up to R410 000. The houses are designed according to the client’s specifications and can either be a double or single storey , with fully functioning bathrooms, and garages having enough capacity to accommodate three vehicles.
“We cater for all sorts of clients, from young people wanting to build their parents their dream homes, to the guy who wants to extend his house, among others,” he says.
Jafta Construction gained a reasonable following on social media, a marketing gambit that has helped Lamola take his business far and wide. He says he will hit the ground running next year because of clients he has already secured in West Africa.
“Next year we are going to be building houses in Nigeria. We have secured quite a number of clients in that country already, who are willing to do business with us,” he says, while sipping on bottled water.
“We will also be extending our operations to Ghana as well. But the long term goal is to expand to the rest of Africa.” Lamola has no qualms declaring that he chose to venture into the business because it has a “lot of money” and investment.
“Another reason is because, I’m an artist at heart. Turning shipping containers into luxurious homes is my passion. I design the houses myself, there is a lot of architecture that goes behind the scenes.”
He says 80 percent of South Africans love his creations, a move he credits for having helped him clinch a deal with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan municipality on the East Rand.
The entrepreneur reveals that he will be constructing 92 container RDP houses at Makhathini in Wattville in December for the Ekurhuleni Metro’s human settlements department.
“Another deal that his in the pipeline is the fact that we are also set to build houses for a mining company in North West.” Lamola says he is still very much involved in forex trading, despite his successes with Jafta Construction.
“Forex trading is an investment that I will never lose. It gets me off the ground whenever I’m down.”
Here are a few comments from his twitter followers: