Three years ago, Sakhile Maseko was forced to sell his guitar and smartphone to keep his dream of making it in Johannesburg afloat. Thanks to the R3,000 or so in seed money that he managed to cobble together, the Swazi national, who’s now 21, runs a profitable business that employs 15 people and generates sales of close to R500,000 a month. In June, Maseko even sold a stake in his operation, called Aumax, to Silvertree Internet Holdings, whose brands include Faithful to Nature, Ucook, and PriceCheck. Aumax sells affordable luxury watches sourced mainly from China. It gets most of its leads from ads on Facebook, and then delivers watches to customers’ homes, where they can try them on before paying. Maseko tells the FM that while he has always loved watches, he did not move from rural Swaziland to Johannesburg to sell them. Rather, he made the move on the premise that he’d been awarded a bursary to study engineering at Wits University, thanks to his solid matric results. But when he ...

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