By: Tebogo Mokwena
When Dikeledi Bokaba and her husband Mpho started their business, it was initially to offer transport services. But because of the capital they needed to upscale and wanting to supplement their incomes, they began manufacturing cleaning detergents. In just under three years, the business had faced closure twice, but they still managed to open a shop to supply stores in Attridgeville, Tshwane.
Bokaba Holdings, which was trading as Star Cleaner, was established in 2019. However, the following year when the lockdown affected the economy, their company had to temporarily close its doors, Bokaba told Vutivi News. Business picked up when the lockdown was eased, and this year they managed to employ two people and distribute their products to wholesalers and supermarkets in Tshwane. Their products are also listed on Takealot.
The couple manufactures dishwashing liquid, pine gel, thick bleach and a multipurpose cleaner. “My husband has over 10 years experience in the manufacturing industry, so when we made the first batch of products and it was sold out in a very short period of time, we were convinced of the venture’s profitability,” she said. “We are incubated at Chemin, where we manufacture our products and we are provided with the space to do so.”
According to Bokaba one of the hindrances of growth was the compliance needed to enter into the larger retail sector. “We are not yet fully compliant enough to be able to have our products on big retail store shelves, but we are working on the compliance so that we can expand our market reach,” she said. Bokaba attributes the business’ growth up until now to them taking advantage of the hunger for local products.
“Having more black-owned detergent manufacturers is very important because we are using products from other countries, so there is a need to participate in the economy by producing and manufacturing our own products,” she said. “It is also important for us that we are offering an affordable solution for people who can use our products to create cleaner spaces,” Bokaba said that their future plan was to start mass production and introduce their products to African countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho.