3rd Year Agricultural Economics Benathi Makiyela Transforms Used Tyres into Beautiful Furniture and Décor

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This is only our second edition this year and we have already unearthed two entrepreneurs in our midst.   These smart fellows are UFH undergraduate students who are not prepared to wait until they receive their degree certificate before reaping the benefits of tertiary education.  They are innovators of note.


Our studentpreneur this week is Mr Benathi Makiyela, a 3rd year Agricultural Economics student on the Alice Campus.  Benathi has found a new purpose for discarded tyres - making furniture and home décor.

The 24-year-old from Mount Frere (Kwa-Bhaca), Eastern Cape said his inspiration for eco-entrepreneurship stems from two things, a passion for recycling and a determination to create a second income stream after graduating.

“When I looked at the high number of unemployed graduates I realised that I needed a Plan B in case I struggle to secure employment after graduating. Even if I do find a job, I have learnt from my role models.  These are Vusi Thembekwayo (motivational speaker) and Sbusiso ‘DJ Sbu’ Leope (serial-entrepreneur).  They have taught me that having a side hustle as an alternative income stream is financial prudence.”

The name of his company is Tyre Recycling and Cleaning Services (Pty) Ltd.  It operates on a piece of land on the side of the N2 in Mount Frere. The company manufactures chairs, tables, flowerpots, feeding troughs, pet beds and playground swings from old tyres. He established the company in 2018 and officially registered it in June 2020.


After registering his business, Makiyela partnered with two fellow Fort Harians who form part of the management team:

Mr Mthandazo Dyantyi, Chief Financial Officer (UFH Accounting Honours student), and
Mr Silindukuza Ngqasa, Chief Legal Officer (admitted attorney and UFH Alumnus)

The company has two employees, Ms Khonzeka Jakalase, Chief Design Officer (2nd year UFH Bachelor of Arts student) and Makiyela’s younger brother, Mphumezi who is a gifted seamster/sewer.

Since inception, the company has sold several pieces of furniture and flowerpots to customers around the province.

“Our objective is to expand our product supply to cover the whole of South Africa even some countries on the African continent.  We also want to create more employment opportunities and provide training to arts students at universities and colleges,” said Makiyela.

May their business continue to prosper.


By Aretha Linden