By simply trying to create a doll that his daughter could identify with, Meshack Mulaudzi embarked on a doll-making journey that spreads positivity to African children.
Mulaudzi’s vision was a doll that would encourage his daughter to celebrate her uniqueness. When he approached manufacturers with his design, he found he could only place a minimum order of 50 dolls.
49 daughter-inspired dolls later
He photographed his daughter Kaelo with the doll and posted the image to Facebook. In just one day, he had received over 4,000 likes and Kaelo Black Beauty was born. The company designs, manufactures and distributes African-themed toys, which aim to inspire messages of self-love and individuality.
The toymaking entrepreneur has also launched a company called Neo African Super Hero (named after his son), which makes an African-themed action figure called Captain Africa.
For decades, mass media communicated a highly constructed image of beauty to its audiences. The result became quite remarkable - in that our popular culture demanded a standardisation of the human body and human beauty...
Throughout his entrepreneurship journey, Mulaudzi has been supported by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. The fellowship programme is one of three programmes the foundation offers in pursuit of creating a pipeline of responsible entrepreneurs. The foundation provides fellowship recipients, known as Allan Gray Candidate Fellows, funding for university studies as well as access to support and development to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset. These programmes run throughout the academic year alongside the candidate fellow’s university studies.
Mulaudzi joined the foundation’s fellowship programme in 2008 during his second year into a BCom accounting degree. “Becoming an Allan Gray Candidate Fellow was quite significant, outside this fellowship going to university wouldn’t have been possible,” he says.
“The fellowship consists of likeminded people who are passionate about changing the world through entrepreneurship and that got me excited to be part of the programme.”
Returning the favour
But his first lesson in entrepreneurship was from his mother, a fruit seller at the local market in the Duthuni Village of Limpopo. Since starting his business, Mulaudzi has built a house for his mother and provides for her so that she no longer has to sell fruit at the market to earn a living.
But it’s not just his family’s lives that he wants to improve – he’s passionate about changing the township economy. He focuses on skills development and only uses labour from townships at manufacturing facilities near to their homes.
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