South Africa is known for its high concentration of diverse cultures. This is because, over the years, it has grown to be regarded as the melting point of the African continent.
There is a diversity in nationalities that one finds while in this country that explains just how much this is a top destination for tourism as well as business.
Having in mind that there are numerous business opportunities in South Africa, a huge Kenyan population has been attracted into moving to this country.
Due to this discovery, popular organizations like the Kenya Diaspora in South Africa (KEDASA), have been formed. KEDASA’s main objective is to promote the collective interest of the Kenyans living in the country.
In 2018, this need for cooperation and unification saw KEDASA introduce events like the Kenya Market Day held in Sandton during Mashujaa Day.
This event was very much welcomed by the Kenyan community in South Africa. The challenges that many of the Kenyans living in South Africa faced prior to their settling, show the reason behind the formation of the Kenya Market Day.
This was in order to network with fellow Kenyans while residing in a foreign land.
“We thought ‘why not come up with a networking opportunity for Kenyans to come and know and even trade with each other’,” Godfrey Kamatu, KEDASA chairman, explained.
He says that as Kenyans, we are never united, in fact, he claims that Kenyans are quite fragmented. He believes that Kenyans only connect with the people they work with or see every day and that should not be the case.
This year’s event saw around 100 Kenyan businessmen and women converge at the Sandown High School to network.
From transport to hospitality, food to insurance, beauty to technology, almost all industries were well represented.
“The market stalls you see here today explain that Kenyans are quite enterprising; they are mashujaas!” says Jean Kamau, Kenyan Ambassador to South Africa.
Impressively, some of these contributions made by the Kenyan entrepreneurs are not only economical but also humanitarian.
Sally Kim is an educationist and a director of the Smart Kidz Club, an organization that develops educational apps for kids. She explains that one of their core values is to ensure the child in the village gains just as much as that child living in the city. Hence the reason they partner with governments and corporate organizations that are able to contribute immensely.
These hardworking nature of Kenyans in South Africa has not gone unnoticed. Businesses like Mukuru, a money transfer company, have taken notice and are tapping into the innovative and resilient character of these entrepreneurs.
Other Kenya companies have not been left behind. They understand that their biggest market is the Kenyan diaspora and thus are investing on the same.
This year’s event was not just about networking. Instead, it provided an opportunity for Kenyans to access government services.
Due to this year’s success, it is the hope of the organizers that better such events are yet to come that will result in the growth of Kenyan businesses.
This hope is also shared by Ambassador Jean Kamau who believes that as long as there is a level of harmony and unity maintained, we as a nation will go places.