Pay it forward
MUSA MAKHUNGA's passion for people and society has been driven by the need to "pay it forward". He believes that he would not have achieved as much as he has done in his life if he was not assisted by the generosity of other people.
Makhunga says, "I realise that if people had not provided opportunities for growth, I would not have made it, career wise. We all need just that one person who believes in our set vision and declared commitment to it, to make it a bit further." This past assistance has seen Makhunga become a trained teacher and now a businessman in practice, who has worked in many industries including education, manufacturing, mining, retail, banking and consulting.
Makhunga founded the HR Matters company in 2002 as an outsource human resources solutions outfit servicing small, medium and large business, focusing on talent acquisition, training, consulting and HR administration. This has been the family focus for the past 13 years as he runs this business with his wife, Nozipho.
He said that although there had been challenges, the decision to change his career by joining commerce was a risk that has paid off handsomely in terms of personal growth and development.
One of Makhunga's strengths is his entrepreneur spirit. He explains, "My mom and my aunt could not afford to provide much beyond the necessities when I was young, so I learnt to 'hustle' at an early age. At school sports days I would sell oranges. I was one of a few people who had a camera so l took photographs and would send the spool from Zululand to Durban to be printed and then sell the prints." Makhunga added that if it was up to him, every touch point with young people, be at home, school and in society in general, youth would be encouraged to get out there early, to earn or learn to trade. This entrepreneurial acumen saw the HR Matters Company establish HR Matters Properties (HRMP) in 2007 as a property management, investment and services business. A warehouse and logistics component is located at Pran Park at Dube TradePort, which provides a competitive advantage as a distribution centre covering the RSA steel manufacturing market.
The desire to assist people in the communities Makhunga grew up in is apparent in his co-founding of the Nothani Education Trust (www.nothani.org. za). This organisation contributes to efforts aimed at helping communities and individuals in Zululand to work themselves out of poverty. "I am passionate about the importance of education and vocational skills development to the extent I think the two could well be the panacea of all societal ills. "In the past, akhunga has been involved with the founding of Mothers-to-Mothers-to-Be (M2M2B) mentoring programme. This programme addresses the needs of pregnant women and mothers living with HIV. "I get immense fulfilment from the philanthropy work I do or have done, with my friends and business associates," he commented. In addition to philanthropic work, Makhunga enjoys motivating local businesses to generate profits while serving a meaningful purpose and giving back to society.
As president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Makhunga is committed to ethical business practices and ensuring that local business leaders and government work together. Makhunga commented that interacting with people from the global chamber movement has allowed him the occasion to see how other countries perceive the work of business chambers.
South Africa has much unfinished business and it is necessary to get business and authorities to work together to address issues of inequality, poverty and slow economic growth. Makhunga concluded, " We each have a responsibility to help South Africa grow - we can't always leave assisting others to the next guy."