‘Don’t be ashamed of your hustle!’ Meet the pantsula who makes and sells his own jam

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Owner of All Day Jam, Gontse Selaocoe.
Owner of All Day Jam, Gontse Selaocoe.

He is a pantsula through and through. He's got the look with his All-Stars, Dickies outfit, bucket hats and gold earrings.

As much as he lives the lifestyle, he loves getting his hands dirty in his garden. 

Gontse Selaocoe from Orange Farm is a 23-year-old budding entrepreneur who makes his own jam, All Day Jam. He also grows and sells vegetables.

“I spend a lot of hours in the garden or in the streets selling,” he tells us.

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Gontse started his jam business at the age of 19. He got inspired after tasting jam made by his grandparents. It is a skill that was passed down by his grandfather’s family and now has become a family gem.

The entrepreneurship bug bit him when he was in high school when he entered a competition that introduced to the nitty-gritties of start-ups.

He says it was a four-week long programme that required the entrants to come up with an innovative idea.

"I innovated coal using raw materials. The ash could be used to clean glasses, brushing teeth and even used in soil.

“I didn’t win but I got to be enlightened on things like elevator pitches and what it takes to run a business," Gontse explains.

From then on, he had a vison of starting his own business.

“One day, I went into my grandparents’ house and I was so hungry. While making bread and jam, it tasted so good that I asked my grandmother why she doesn’t sell the jam she makes because it tastes so good.”

The answer from his grandmother changed his life.

“She said to me, ‘why don’t you do it yourself?’”

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Pantsulas are all about image, they take pride in how they dress so when Gontse had to decide between buying takkies he really wanted or starting a business, it was a tough call at that moment.

“I took the R1 000 I had, and I bought plastic bottles and then the work started,” he tells us.

No one in the family had thought of doing this before. Making jam was something they grew up doing and in fact, had no choice but to be part of.

“As a boy, I hated working in the garden and I had no choice,” he says.

His family has always had a garden. They never bought vegetables, they planted everything themselves.

Today, he is reaping the rewards of all the hard work in that garden.

“All Day Jam makes melon, peach, pear and tomato flavoured jam. We plant everything except pear,” he says.

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His interest in agriculture has grown. He is keen on even going to school to learn more about the industry.

“That is where my heart is,” he says.

“My ultimate dream is have land where I can operate from. As the business grows, it becomes very difficult to plant as we wish. Also, I don’t have proper storage facilities like tunnels for tomatoes and now with the melon that is all over the yard.

"The space is too small and I need bigger land. I am busy with cabbage production as it is a cabbage season, I know the issue of space is going to be challenging,” he says.

"There is a lot to still learn but it is a journey I have given my heart and all my faith to," he says. 

Gontse has a dream to create employment among the youth of Orange Farm and make a difference.

“We should be proud of who we are and where we come from without trying to be like other people. Some people have told me that since I am in business I need to stop dressing like a pantsula because it is not ‘business-like’ but that is not going to happen. The mentality that when you dress like this you look like a thug is totally wrong,” he says.

Gontse encourages other young people who have businesses in the township to be proud of their hustle and to be inspired by others too.

“Don’t be ashamed of your hustle,” he says.

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