Graduate drives Mthatha fruit stall’s social media success

BUDDING MARKETER: Graduate Lonalinamandla Bawuti at her sister's fruit stall in Mthatha.
BUDDING MARKETER: Graduate Lonalinamandla Bawuti at her sister's fruit stall in Mthatha.

There is no greater satisfaction than taking theory, putting it into action and seeing it blossom to greatness.

And  living proof of that is Johannesburg-based strategic advertising graduate Lonalinamandla Bawuti, who has been helping her sisters’ fruit vending business reach new heights through social media marketing.

As a result, “Third stand Mamela taxi rank” has become a popular search term with Facebook and Twitter users who frequent the stall in the Mthatha CBD to buy “fresh, clean fruit”.

Bawuti, 25, takes pictures with her customers and shares them on social platforms.

She told Daily Dispatch that she started advertising the business earlier in December.

Even good Samaritans have chipped in to assist her, with one person lending her a gazebo to help protect her from the scorching sun and rain.

Bawuti, who is originally from Mqanduli in Macosa village, said the support she had received was overwhelming.

My sister Zandile started her business to combat unemployment by selling meat in town.

“It then changed to a fruit vending business,” Bawuti said.

Her sister is a qualified paramedic and also holds an N3 in electrical engineering.

Bawuti graduated with a diploma in strategic advertising at Boston Media House in 2018 and is now enrolled at City Varsity, where she is studying performing arts.

I used all the information I was equipped with in advertising to help her with the business.

“I posted it on social media and people came to buy in numbers.

“Before, the business was very slow, now we even finish stock.

“I will continue to advertise it for my sister, I am very happy and she says I’ve helped her so much.”

As a graduate, Bawuti said some people were shocked to see her selling fruit on the street.

I told people that being a graduate should not prevent you from doing anything positive.

“I really don’t mind what people say about me,” she said.

Another of my aims was to change how people from the streets are viewed.

“Just because people are there it doesn’t mean they have nothing, they are there to survive.

Social media has helped us a lot because now we make a lot of profit.

I wish other people could do the same and help their friends or relatives with whatever they have, be it hard labour or information, instead of sitting and complaining about unemployment.”

Bawuti believes an attitude of entitlement will leave people with broken dreams.

We must not wait for jobs to be created, we must create them ourselves,” she said.

Likewise, her customers sing her praises.

Gospel singer Betusile Mcinga posted on Facebook: “If you [are] around Mthatha and you want fruit, get it fresh and clean at Mamela taxi rank.”

Another Facebook user, Zigcine Troy Libazi, called Bawuti “a great influencer.”


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