Two enterprising young men have taken to providing toilet facilities in a bid to bring food to the table and pay the bills.
The duo, Tati Siding Village natives, Lesego Makwinja and Iponeng Koolopile, both aged 28, run the Francistown Rank public toilets and insist making a living from crap and urine is as good a job as any.
“The idea of going into whatever job or business is to make money and pay the bills. We are doing that here and also providing a much needed service to the public and our environment,” says Makwinja.
The duo successfully tendered to run the council-owned toilets, taking up the role this April Fools’ Day.
The facilities, which are well maintained and clean, include four toilets for men and another four for women.
The pair do all the dirty work themselves, as Makwinja explains, telling Voice Money, “Cleaning is the heaviest part of the job. At the moment we do that ourselves but have plans to hire as the business grows.”
At the cost of Two Pula, one gets the chance to use the toilets and is also provided with tissue to use.
Whilst he would not give a figure as to how much revenue the business generates on an average day, Makwinja said it was ‘enough to make a living’.
Quizzed on the challenges they face, Makwinja says they have to deal with customers who still feel that the toilets should be used for free as they belong to the City Council.
“Some use our facilities and refuse to pay. We try to reason with them and most end up understanding and paying. In a few cases we have had to seek help from the cops. At times we simply let such people go,” he says.
On another note Makwinja says they have managed to learn to live with those who tell them off for being involved in the unglamorous, and often messy and smelly business at such young ages.
“We get a lot of flak from members of the public, especially those who know us but we have learnt to live with that. Our goal is to make a living in an honest way and nothing will derail us.
“I would advise any person who has found a way to make a living to pursue it and ignore all the negative talk. Remember those laughing at you will not give you any money and will probably laugh loudest at you when you are broke and can’t pay the bills,” says Makwinja defiantly.
Makwinja feels business would improve once men stop emptying their loins in the bush. “Business could be better if men stopped peeing in the bush across the railway line.
“Authorities should enforce the laws that make using the bush to relieve one’s self an offence. Punishing those who violate such laws would not only help businesses such as ours but protect the environment as well,” he adds, pointing out that the strong, unpleasant urine smell emanating from across the railway line is offensive and a possible health hazard that should be addressed swiftly.
Makwinja and his media shy partner have plans to grow their business and create jobs for others.
“Our dream is to run as many toilet facilities as possible in the future. It’s a good business which has great potential,” the young entrepreneur tells Voice Money with a knowing smile.