Botswana: Roadside Eatery Cushions Youth Against Unemployment

Kanye — Unemployment is a sad reality among young people and the outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in adverse effects in many households.

As many people lost income due to job losses, others found the pandemic as a wake-up call to eke a living, albeit through meagre earnings.

Mr Otlaafenya Baletile, 29, of Mosepele was fortunate to find employment in a roadside restaurant a few metres away from his residence.

Strategically situated along the Trans Kgalagadi Highway, the eatery is made up of a traditional cooking area and a few tables and chairs to lure motorists.

The place may resemble many others across the country that have been mushrooming along major roads, but to Mr Baleti, his workplace provides for his livelihood.

After completing his Junior Certificate examinations in Kang in 2010, the father of three retraced his footsteps back home and was engaged as a Tirelo Setshaba participant in nearby Pitseng before joining Elsamex for the Mmankgodi/Jwaneng road construction project.

However, he later left and was part of the unemployment until he met his current employers in March, who are also his neighbours.

His day starts at 7am and since cleanliness is key in food handling entities, his first task is to clean the surroundings and to set up the tables and chairs before he can start cooking.

The menu consists of both Setswana and other dishes to cater for the clintelle that passes through.

Although they get most business from passing motorists, especially truck drivers, there are also clients from the neighbourhood who are supportive.

Even though he is engaged as an employee, Mr Baleti has managed to earn his employer's confidence and trust. Most of the time he is running the business alone. This he attributed to his hardwork and positive attitude to what he does.

"When I started they showed me how to do things and since they are busy with other things most of the time I'm the one left to operate the business," he said.

With each plate priced at P25, the business is usually booming on Fridays and Saturdays with the food being finished before the scheduled knock off time.

This does not only give him time to attend to other personal things, but also motivates him to look forward to the next day.

However, the young man said there were days they had left over food due to low sales.

"We give the food to family members and neighbours around the area," he said.

Even though not so lucrative, Mr Baleti's job enables him to take care of his children and also enjoys working near his house without worrying about transport fares.

Source : BOPA

More From: Botswana Daily News

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