When Molebogeng Pitso started doing carpentry, she just wanted to have a bit of money to enjoy her festive season. However, when she fell pregnant and became a mother, she decided to devote herself to a craft that has earned her respect among young women in her township. Pitso, who hails from Kutlwanong in the Free State, told Vutivi News that she started her business in 2014 before she officially registered it as Kontractors At Work and Projects in 2019.
According to Pitso, she started as an apprentice which helped her learn the trade. She also said that she took on the challenge because she saw that carpentry was dominated by men. “When I started out, I saw that the money was good and that there were many opportunities in my area,” she said. “When I learned how to do the work, I did not take it seriously, but I still enjoyed it. Motherhood, however, changed everything for me, and I started taking myself seriously and doing carpentry as a career instead of just a side hustle.
“I relished the challenge because I wanted to confront the notion that women are afraid of tackling challenges head-on.” Also working with her hands was not strange for Pitso, as she had a qualification in electrical engineering. She obtained the money to start her business from her mentor, who she still works with. When she was starting out, Pitso was not taken seriously because of her age and gender.
“Nobody took me seriously, and I had to prove that I was worth taking seriously with my work,” she said. “My hard work paid off because people started noticing my craft, and my customers would recommend me to a lot of their friends and families, who would wonder at my woodwork.” Pitso also said that the fact that young women in her township looked up to her, encouraged her.
“We are the only carpentry business in our area, and we service other areas around our township, specialising in kitchen cupboards, wardrobes, ceilings, tiling, and timber flooring,” she said. “We have our own workshop, where I’ve employed five people. “Young women in my area are inspired by the fact that as young as I am, I was able to establish the first workshop in the area, and this has led them to respect and honour me, some seeing me as a role model.”
Pitso has since received a certificate from Free State’s Top Game Changers for her work. And her plans entail opening a bigger workshop where she can teach other women in her area carpentry so that they too can be independent and stand on their own two feet.