By Nizole Qete
Lonwabo Sandi’s entrepreneurial journey began with his passion for teaching maths to learners. The Makhanda-born and bred entrepreneur told Vutivi News that his story exemplified the power of determination and perseverance. He established L. Sandi Academy in 2021. It helps children in high school with mathematics and other subjects.
“When I was in Grade 12, I liked helping learners in mathematics. In my first year at Rhodes University, I worked with Ikamva Youth, and that’s when I saw that learners loved my teaching style, and that’s when I decided to start L. Sandi,” he said.
Sandi and 20 other staff run tutoring classes every day after school for learners from around 15 local schools in the Makhanda area, and from 10 am to 5 pm on weekends. Despite being in a small town, Sandi said he wanted to defy the odds and venture into other businesses. He set up L. Sandi Photography, which is now known as L. Sandi Events.
“After L. Sandi Academy, I bridged into photography. People said my pictures were of high quality and that’s when I started capturing pictures at a fee,” he said. “My first break was at the Rhodes University graduation in 2022 when the business gained recognition.”
Sandi’s clients then asked him to start staging their events. “When I went to events as a photographer, people would ask if I also offer decoration services for events and I would say no. But, after some time, I decided to do L. Sandi Events, ” he said. Continuing to seek new opportunities, Sandi also founded L. Sandi Projects, delving into home repairs and construction. “L. Sandi Projects is different from my other businesses. We deal with home repairs. We do ceiling, bricklaying, aiming for construction projects in the future.”
Sandi said that navigating challenges in a small town was inevitable, but he remained focused on delivering the best services possible. Also, one advantage of Makhanda’s size was that “when someone needs a service, they know who to contact”.
He wants his people-oriented approach to set him apart from other SMMEs. “People want to know who this person is. I am a people person. I conduct chores, and whenever I am around people, I make jokes, and I love people and working with them.” Sandi’s commitment to outstanding service, effective social media marketing, and a dedicated team, has led to the success of his businesses, and he believes it is only up from here.
(This story was first published by Vutivi Business News).