Youth make it at market

Kyra Semler, 11, at her stall at the Pocket Money Market held at the V&A Waterfront. Kyra sold cookies and Fathers Day treats.

A 15-year-old CBD resident, won the Entrepreneur of the Day prize at the Pocket Money Market, held at the Watershed on Youth Day, June 16.

Khaya Reischmann sold novelty candles which he made himself, and pegged messages. He said it was the first time he had won anything. Khaya had struggled to sell his products at the last market, but he didn’t give up. Instead, he learnt some more tips at the workshops held for the market participants and applied them this time.

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business, so my mom saw this and she thought it would be a good opportunity for me. I didn’t think I would win. I am very excited.”

Khaya’s mother, Monique, was very proud of her son. “It was very unexpected, but he worked so hard, and he has good sales skills. I’m very proud of him. He started from the bottom and never gave up.”

Khaya was one of about 50 traders at the market, which was held at the V&A Waterfront for the first time since its inception almost three years ago.

The market saw children from the ages of 3 to 16 run about 25 stalls, selling food, sweets, crafts, jewellery and gifts for Father’s Day, which was on Sunday June 18.

There were also children busking – another first for the market.

The market, run by Linda Wilson, nurtures entrepreneurship in children in the hope that more South Africans will be able to be self sufficient.

Ms Wilson started the programme because she felt poor education and poverty were to blame for most of the country’s social ills including crime and substance abuse.

“With unemployment being the reality for most of our kids, self employment is the only real option,” she said. “The younger the mindshift and ability to do this, the better.”

The children learned while they earned, and had fun doing it, she said.

The markets are run about twice a month at any venue that will have them.

The last market was in Kommetjie, but Ms Wilson said they would love to become regulars at the V&A Waterfront which had provided “great foot traffic” and good earnings.

“There were some great innovative products, and the children pledged to go plastic-free with their packaging, which was quite hard.”

Ms Wilson said the market relied on donations and sometimes a lack of funding threatened to scupper events, and made her want to give up, but “almost three years on, we are growing everyday”.

“We have just opened a space in Mitchell’s Plain where we are hoping to train the children and then take them wherever the market will be.”

Ms Wilson’s daughter, Anna Jacobs, 10, has been participating in the market since its inception. This year, Anna chose to sell magic carpet cleaner, peanut brittle that she makes herself with the help of her aunt, and host a Knysna Fire fund collection point.

Anna also won the award for Most Greenest Stall of the day, as she incorporated a globe with litter attached to it, for environmental awareness.

She said the market has been doing really well so far, and more children are joining. “I’m saving up my money I make from the markets, in case I see something I really really want, like a surfboard, but also for a car when I am 18.” Kyra Semler, 11, said she got involved in the market when her mother saw it as an opportunity for her to showcase her baking.

Kyra sold cookies and Father’s Day treats at the market. This is the first time I am doing something like this. My mom bakes for parties and things, and I love to bake with her.”

Kyra said she would like to be an entrepreneur one day, and if not, she would love to be a baker.

Lebohang Mngambi, 15, said he heard about the market from Ms Wilson and was asked to join. At the market, he sold dog biscuits he made himself and fresh produce that he and his parents grew in their garden at home.

He said he would use his profits to buy something for Father’s Day, as his father helped him at the market. “I want to become an entrepreneur one day and keep making my special dog biscuits, and also find some new products to keep my business alive.”

Milisa Ndlebe, 12, was crowned the very first Busker of the Day. The young violinist played a tune at the prize-giving ceremony held after the market. He plans to put his prize money of R100 towards buying a new tuner.

For more information on the market, visit pocketmoneymarket.com