The story of Thapelo Malgas: From earrings to corporate suits

Family man. Thapelo Malgas with his beautiful family that he provides for on a daily basis. Photo: Selogile Leshage

As the youth of South Africa is continuously being slurped into poverty and unemployment, Thapelo Malgas is finding solace in entrepreneurship.

Thapelo (35) is the owner of TP Kasi Boutique, based in Ikageng, and he is not standing on the sidelines. He is proud to have a clientele all over the country, including Cape Town, Musina, Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal, Taung, Mahikeng and other places.

‘I sell casual clothing like tracksuits to the community and formal clothes like suits, shoes, ties, shades and belts. I also dress lawyers, school principals and other corporate staff. I dress matric learners for their farewells and others for weddings and awards functions,’ he says proudly.

The father of two beautiful girls, 9-year-old Mbali and 6-month-old Similindile is also the life partner of Palesa. He says his success has come through hard work, perseverance and an undying drive to provide for his mother, siblings and family.

‘My father used to do odd jobs in construction but it was not enough. I had to stand up and go out to assist with the meagre income he was getting.’

I used to sell earrings for R5
The short, bald businessman says he has been through a lot. ‘Many moons ago, I used to sell ice cream in trains in Sebokeng. I also sold sweets and chocolates in the schools I attended and earrings at the Potchefstroom taxi rank for R5.’

Thapelo also sold kotas (township sandwich with atchar, polony, cheese, chips and a russian) near a school and clothes door-to-door in Ikageng, the extensions and Promosa.

Without a doubt, he tried everything to put food on the table for his family.

He says his love for fashion started when he used to go to Jo’burg to buy clothes for himself. Then he saw a gap in the market and decided to rather buy clothing to sell.

‘There were a number of challenges and I had to hitchhike to sell clothes in Rustenburg, Klerksdorp and Mahikeng. I also encountered difficult clients who refused to pay me. However, that did not deter me from continuing with the business,’ he said with a smile.

‘That is all in the past and I have learnt a lot. Right now, I am focusing on growing my business and my dream is to have a shop in all nine provinces,’ he said.

During the interview, he proudly looks at the brand new red BMW 1 Series that he recently purchased through selling the clothes in his boutique. ‘This by God’s Grace,’ he said.

Thapelo with his brand new BMW 1 Series. Photo: Selogile Leshage

Mbali the catalyst
He adds that the birth of his daughter, Mbali, in 2009 was a turning point in his life. ‘My life changed for the better because it motivated me to work harder. Although I had an extra mouth to feed, I had to be more responsible and take my job seriously,’ he said.

In addition to feeding his family, TP Kasi Boutique has also enabled him to provide for the less fortunate in the community.

‘Last Christmas, TP Kasi provided clothes for two 9-year-old girls in the care of their grandparents in Sonderwater. The mother of one of them was brutally murdered by her father. We bought groceries, school bags and clothes… We often check on them for any other needs,’ he said.

‘This will be an annual project at Christmas to give back to the community. This is my way of showing appreciation to the people who have supported my business.

‘This year, we will be giving five to ten children toys and clothes. We will also provide groceries for their households so they can enjoy the festive season like the rest of the community. We are going to do this through the support of the people who continue to buy from TP Kasi Boutique,’ he said.

He is pleading to anyone who would like to assist to come on board and ‘…help the less fortunate, especially the orphans in our community’.

Don’t be discouraged by what people say

Thapelo is saddened by the staggeringly high unemployment in the country, especially among the youth and graduates.

‘Don’t stand and wait for someone to give you direction about what to do with your life. Always pray, believe in yourself and don’t be discouraged by what people say. With that R100, you can do a lot. You can buy bags of tomatoes, cabbages, potatoes and sell them in the community. Don’t sit in the corner, waiting for handouts or the government. ‘Let us create employment for ourselves. Even if it takes you 20 years to achieve what you want, eventually you will get it. Never give up,’ he encourages.

*TP Kasi Boutique is a registered company and has a Facebook and Instagram page. The shop can be found at 1524 Chabalala Street in Ikageng. To reach Thapelo, call 078 840 5798.

Selogile Leshage

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