A dedicated father has gone the extra mile for his kids. Peter Chihoro started making brooms to sell. He uses the money he generates with his craft to fund his children’s school fees.
Peter Chihoro is one dedicated dad. The man rides his bicycle up to 80km a day to fetch wood, which he uses to make brooms. Chihoro, who hails from Tsakane in Brakpan, sells the brooms for R60 each and it is the means he has used to pay his kids’ school fees for the past decade.
According to GroundUp, Chihoro leaves early in the mornings to find gum trees to cut for his brooms.
He visits farms in surrounding areas and says sometimes the farmers chase him away or charge him for the wood. Daily Afrika has learnt that Nigel farmer charges Chihoro and other broom makers R150 to cut up to 100 branches.
When the company he was working for in Harare closed down in 2008, he joined some friends and crossed the Limpopo River into South Africa. But the friend who was supposed to help him disappeared. After failed job searches and discovering a market for his brooms, Chihoro started working for himself. He tried to look for a formal job at first but gave up when he realised he could make a living from broom making.
“The first things l bought were a bicycle and a big machete. They are the most important assets in our business,” says Chihoro. “With this machete l never go wrong, it also helps scare away intruders.”
“Once l started out, l never wanted to work for anyone ever again. I realised that it was easier to be an entrepreneur than to go around looking for a job,” he says.
He uses his bicycle to transport the wood he has cut. He says he can ferry 50 to 60 sticks on his bicycle at a time. He walks deep into the bush, pulling his bicycle, stopping wherever he sees suitable gum trees.
“Being in a bush alone is scary but exciting. The silence motivates me to work faster.”
Sometimes he has met nyaope smokers in the bushes, who demand small change and threaten him if he does not pay.
“I have to work fast lest someone else who is in the same trade arrives, and cuts some of the trees before l finish. This is a competitive business and often we compete to find trees.”
His competitors are fellow Zimbabweans.
They often run out of suitable tree branches. This is the reason why he sometimes returns to a good spot three times a day until he has taken all the best sticks.
He takes the brooms on his bicycle selling them in nearby townships at R60 each and R40 wholesale. He says he makes R4,000 to R5,000 a month.
Whenever he can he sends money to his family in rural Rusape, Zimbabwe.
“I do all this so that my three children can finish school. For the past ten years, this is how l have been paying school fees for them.”
Chihoro says he wants to raise enough money to start making and selling coffins in Zimbabwe one day.
“I do what l can provide for my family,” he says. “Every time l see some of my customers sweeping their yard with one of my brooms, l smile,” he told Ground Up.