By Anahi Santoyo:
Five years ago Loyiso Damoyi, born and raised in Khayelitsha, had a vision of creating bicycle tours where tourists could engage more with the community in Khayelitsha.
“I saw the frustrations within the community members,when people came into the township on busses taking pictures but leaving without any impact”. Little did he know that his vision would transform into Ubuntu – Khayelitsha on Bikes.
Two years ago Loyiso started with only ten bikes and with no staff but himself. “Most people thought it was a crazy idea” he says laughing. He explains that no one believed in the idea of tourists coming into Khayelitsha to drive bicycles around the community.
“Tourists fear the community. This is why they come with busses and take pictures from inside the busses. Everyone is afraid of the unknown”. However, Loyiso knew that if he could give just one person a positive experience with a sightseeing tour on a bike, things would change.
Ubuntu Bikes started growing when Loyiso had the opportunity to take an American friend on a bike tour of Khayelitsha. “Even now the community is applauding the business”. However, it was a tough beginning especially with such an avant-garde concept. Loyiso says that his biggest struggles were “having an idea and not being able to implement it because of lacking capital and not having someone to believe in the idea and vision.”
Besides having his own business, Loyiso does performing arts, which was how he found out about Hubspace Khayelitsha. “I was invited to perform on the opening night and I met Melilizwe. He explained to me the concept of Hubspace”. A month later Loyiso applied for the space and became a member of Hubspace.
According to Loyiso one of the biggest advantages from his membership at Hubspace Khayelitsha is the business education that he has received. “I never went to school but I knew what I wanted to do. I got to learn new things by attending workshops. Some of the most important things that I learned were the small things that I didn´t think were important; like knowing how to handle yourself when you do business, how to dress for a business meeting and how to close a deal”
Loyiso was the winner of the Pitch Perfect Event that took place in Hubspace Khayelitsha on the 3th of September 2013. “It was such a big deal for me” he says with a big smile on his face. After winning the event he claims that one of the biggest advantages was access to potential Enterprise Development finance partners. “Today I have an important meeting that I believe will change my life forever” he says very proudly.
This successful entrepreneur explains that his bigger vision is to expand his business and create a bungee jumping attraction. “Khayelitsha is the second biggest township in South Africa and it has a lot of room to grow”. Nevertheless, Loyiso´s future holds more than business; next to him is his lovely fiancé, Bongeka Hlobo. Even though she is very shy she does not hesitate to respond that Loyiso is very good at what he does. While holding hands Loyiso says: “In five years I see myself inspiring young people in Khayelitsha. There are lots of young people that I can mentor and help change their lives for good”.