Old Mutual has been involved in corporate social investment initiatives since 1965 and aims to create opportunities for integrating marginalised South Africans in the mainstream economy. One of the benficiaries of Old Mutual programmes is Willard Musarurwa. Willards story is documented by the old mutual foundation road trip in 2011……
He’s a big man with gentle sunny energy and a wide easy smile. His business Feeling African makes funky colourful wire craftworks and furniture which are sold locally and exported. His most successful collaboration has been with New York designer Stephen Burks. Willard is married to Anna and they have two sons, Kelly and Tyrone . Hmmm, I wonder how much sleep Willard’s been getting lately.
Willard’s story is an example of persistence. Zimbabwean by birth, he came to Cape Town in 2000 looking for greener pastures. “In Zim, the cracks were already starting to show,” he remarks settling down on one of his hand-crafted stools. “I had a dream that one day I would own my own business,” he says. “It wasn’t easy. When I came to Cape Town, I looked for a job but couldn’t find one. I used to make wire key rings, candle holders, fruit bowls, even tortoises – people really loved those. I would sell them on Long Street at night, in the clubs.” I’m amazed, why in the clubs? He grins, “At night, when people are drunk it’s the best time to sell.”
His products are sold in leading SA interior shops and have featured in local and international magazines and are now stocked in Sweden at Savannahome.“I want to be a role model for young people in the townships,” he says, ”I want them to know that you don’t always have to go out and look for jobs, you can start your own business!”