Young entrepreneur creates beautiful homes for the underprivileged

Young entrepreneur creates beautiful homes for the underprivileged

From having no place to call ‘home’ to helping South Africans build their own homes, entrepreneur Bonga Masoka is changing the lives of many. Here is his inspirational story. 

Bonga Masoka
Bonga Masoka/ Provided

It is said that when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. That is exactly what Bonga Masoka did. 

After living many years without a decent roof over his head, he is now determined to “assist others to create homes for themselves”.

The owner of the painting company Splashafrika and the co-owner of G-Tech chats to us about the work he is doing to uplift poor families. 

His companies have employed over ten youngsters and he is working hard to alleviate poverty in rural communities. 

Describe Bonga Petros Masoka in five words?

Believer, dreamer, thinker, reader, server. 

Tell us about your background? 

I was born to a single mother who provided for her family through selling food and second-hand clothes out of a shopping trolley. Having lived her entire life as a businesswoman, she preached and ingrained in us (my brother and I) at a very young age, the idea of ‘self-reliance and self-employed’ - in her own words, “never work for anyone else.” As firm and influential as the advocacy (never work for anyone else) was, it couldn’t have been more influential and inspiring than seeing her (my mother) work so hard to serve other peoples needs and wants.

 I learnt through this commitment, the fundamentals of servitude. That at the end of it, business or entrepreneurship is about serving others. It is about identifying other people’s problems and working hard to find solutions to them. I pursued entrepreneurship to achieve this goal. My first enterprise, at the age of 10, in grade 3, was selling snacks and taking photos. Those were some of the problems my target audience faced at the time. 

I was born into entrepreneurship. 

You are a man of many talents. You are the co-owner of G-Tech and run Splashafrika. How do the two businesses merge?

Environmental protection. G-Tech is [a] green technology manufacturing company that specialises in food security (agri-tech) and environmental protection, land revegetation. Splash Coatings Africa on the other hand, is heavily invested in research and development to find a perfect balance between affordability (subsequently, accessibility) and environmentally friendly coatings. 

What sparked the love for agriculture, mining, and painting?

Protection, sustainability and equitable distribution and access of currently available and limited resources by and for future generations.  

I am sure your journey has not always been easy. What are some challenges you have had to overcome to be where you are today?

Seeing my mother work so hard and yet, still struggle to provide a decent roof over our head. We grew up without a place to call home (home for me, being any place where you feel safe and free). I started splash to assist people, through our colours, create a feeling of a home for themselves. 

At age 6, when I started school, I had to walk 2 km’s to school. At age 8, I was walking the same distance barefoot, including in winter. After school, I had to walk another 2 km to fetch water. 

I’ve been chased away by family and forced to live with friends. I’ve spent a lot of nights without eating, including just recent, in pursuit of building Splash to what it is today. I’ve struggled to pay rent, and forced to move out. 

I’ve rented and borrowed every worst car you can think of, just so I can transport paint and service clients. I’ve had more doors shut on my face 

Tell us about Splashafrika. How did that business come about?

Through developing G-Tech, I met a director of a company that specialised in the research and development of premium based paint formulations, who, due to our common interest in environmental protection, later offered me access to the formulations, including training in development and manufacturing. 

Splash Coatings Africa is a property and home improvement company that specialises in the manufacturing, supply and application of architectural and infrastructure based premium coatings. In essence, we painting commercial, industrial and residential properties using premium based coatings (paint) that we manufacture ourselves. 

You work closely with women in Splashafrica. Why?

I believe in the saying, “men build houses and women build homes” - since we are in the business of painting properties and houses into homes, this meant recruiting women to assist us in creating those homes. Moreover, the saying (men build houses and women build homes) for is a hypothetical and symbolical representation of an ideal home as a result of both men and women working together. 

In an alternative consideration, if we really questioned who paints more between men and women, women would stand far at the top. They paint their faces and nails every day. Therefore, technically speaking, women are and/or could be the best painters. 

View this post on Instagram

Check out Splash's portfolio

A post shared by Bonga Masoka (@bonga_masoka) on

According to your website, you grew up without a home. How did a homeless person see beyond their circumstances and grow to become a successful entrepreneur?

Growing up without a home does not necessarily imply living without a roof over one’s head. What I mean by it is that I grew up without a place that I could call my own home. I grew up between families. Irrespective of how loving some families would and/or could be, at the end, the feeling of security and freedom was always lacking. It is that feeling that makes you long for a home of your own. 

Besides being born into entrepreneurship, and to serve others through it, my success came as a result of longing to create/build my mother a house/home. I went to the University of Cape Town to graduate, find employment and building my mother a house. Unfortunately, she passed on in 2012, while in my second year of my undergrad. I shifted my perspective from graduating to find employment to graduating to assist others [to] create homes for themselves. This became my service to others, and I suppose, [ the] reason for my success. 

You are passionate about ensuring that everyone has a beautiful home to stay in. Tell us about the time you repainted a house that burnt down.

This was done through our CSI initiative called ‘Painting Colour in People’s Lives’. It's an initiative that focuses on painting colour in the lives that need it the most and yet cannot afford it (to paint their houses). When we read the story of the family of Baloyi on Facebook, and how they lost their home to fire, we thought repainting the house into a new home would help them move past the difficult experience. 

Colour covers all the scars and imperfections that at times, we desperately wish to move past. For such people, seeing the scars and imperfections covered with more beautiful colour is immaterial. Watching them look at themselves with a glow in their eyes is immaterial for me. At some point, the whole street came out to watch us paint, as they wait impatiently to see the end product. 

What are some of your achievements?  

Surviving depression and an edge to give up, to close the business - a better relationship with God and a little bit of more knowledge and understanding of faith. 

Being able to grow the company (Splash) to employ more than 12 people. Having people reach out to ask for advice. 

What are your future plans? 

More knowledge and experience - so I can grow the company into other provinces and subsequently, Africa. 

To develop the company into a fully-fledged property and home improvement services company, instead of just focusing on paint and related services. 

It is Youth Month. What is your advice to a young person who aspires to be an entrepreneur?

On the one hand, entrepreneurship is a journey of faith (complete trust in self and thoughts) - it is a journey of bringing to life, from a thought, a solution to someone's problem. On the other hand, there’s an old wisdom that says, ‘profit is a reward and a motivation to continue serving others’. 

READ: Dietitian Reabetjoe Mokoko on her work in ensuring South Africans eat healthy

Show's Stories