News – Date: 29 January 2023
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Nthanyiseni Muvhenzhe (36) is yet another living example that, with a little bit of imagination, defying the odds and rising above one’s circumstances can be done, no matter where you come from.
Born and bred in the mountainous village of Tshiavha in Vhembe, Muvhenzhe did not allow his rural upbringing to have a negative impact on his desire to succeed in life. In 2017, he came up with the idea of producing his own pepper sauce. This concept, however, took some rigorous planning as well as trial and error before he could start marketing the final product, called Kupisa Lugu-Peri Sauce, at last in 2019.
The sauce is produced in a modern facility in Sandton, Gauteng. Kupisa is a Shona word meaning something that is hot. Besides peppers, the sauce also contains some indigenous herbs, such as lugu, a wild vegetable with a sour taste, which is found in the mountains and bushes around the Vhembe area. This concept has empowered around 115 young people from Limpopo, Gauteng, Northwest, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga, who are involved in harvesting, supplying ingredients, and the sales and marketing of the product. Kupisa Lugu-Peri Sauce has now also penetrated markets in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique.
Muvhenzhe holds a BCom degree in economics and statistics from the University of South Africa (UNISA). “The rate of unemployment is very high, but I don’t agree with those who say there are no jobs. People, especially young people, must start to see things differently and develop a positive mindset about self-reliance. Depending on how one perceives things, we are able to create our own jobs, grow our economy and make our country a better place to stay and invest in,” he said.
His message to the younger generation is: “It is good to do things for ourselves, but the most important thing remains to seek education first. When you are educated, you are able to critically analyse what is before you and ultimately make good choices.”
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Nthanyiseni Muvhenzhe with his popular Kupisa Lugu-Peri Sauce. Photo: Zwendaamba Wanga.