The outbreak of Covid-19 last year crippled many businesses, but it presented an opportunity for a quick-thinking enterprising duo. When township residents could not leave their homes because of the hard lockdown, two business partners came up with a solution to help local food vendors by establishing an online delivery platform, Mashesha Deliveries.
For now, the Daveyton-based business mostly delivers typical township food such as kotas, mogodu and vetkoeks to the township residents in Ekurhuleni. Mashesha Deliveries was established last year by friends Nonkululeko Nkosi and Jabu Mashiane. Nkosi, 29, said their goal was to help township businesses grow by formalising their informal businesses.
“My childhood friend (Mashiane) contacted me one day to say that there were many amazing cooks in Daveyton, who could not reach their customers because of the lockdown. We then came up with the idea of helping them keep their shops afloat while also helping residents get food,” she said. Not only do they deliver food, but they also make grocery trips and help residents run errands.
“Sometimes, occasionally you would have been visiting your relative then forgot the baby’s milk formula… we are able to dash off to get it for you,” Nkosi said. Mashesha Deliveries works with 15 shops on the East Rand as well as big fast-food outlets such as McDonald’s. It employs four drivers and one staffer who takes the orders.
The orders are taken via WhatsApp, but soon customers will be able to place orders on the platform’s website. But Nkosi said they would continue using WhatsApp. “It’s not easy to make businesses who are set in their ways change to formal ways of doing business. Sometimes, you will send an old lady who runs a shop a WhatsApp message, asking something but she won’t respond until you follow up with a (telephone) call,” she explained.
Nkosi said they had also experienced other tech challenges. “There’s a problem of some of our (township’s) major roads not showing up on Google Maps.” However, the duo has embraced these challenges. “There is a lot that one has learned. We want to revolutionise townships. Township folk also like the convenience and they are prepared to pay for it,” Nkosi said. They are now looking at expanding their services to neighbouring townships.
This article first appeared on www.umbele.likhanyiletm.co.za