THE gathering of loved ones around a fire to enjoy a feast of food, drinks, and great conversation is one thing that all South Africans are proud of.
We can all agree that this ancient South African custom has earned its place at the top of our celebration activities, whether you call it a braai or shisanyama.
One of the people who has contributed to this culture is Matome Maphala, founder of Matswi Braai Stands.
After Maphala completed his electrical trade apprenticeship in September 2017, he and his older brother were sitting in their backyard where there was an old geyser just laying on the ground. “ When I looked at it, I had an idea, which I proposed to my brother, that we build a braai stand using his welding machine,” Maphala said.
His brother liked the idea, and they started the project. “At first, there was no inspiration. We were just pushing time and having fun,” he said.
When the project was completed, they could not believe that they had turned an old geyser into a nice braai stand. It was so nice that their parents bought it straight away for R1200, and that is where the inspiration for Matswi Braai Stands came from.
“I chose to venture into this business because South Africa is a braai-loving nation and secondly because I realised that there are a lot of old geysers in the environment that were not being used for anything. So turning them into braai stands helps in recycling them to be used again but for a different purpose,” Maphala said.
The company manufactures braai stands and smokers from scrap geysers. Additionally, they manufacture built-in fireplaces and built-in braai stands. The braai stands are manufactured in their family yard in Seshego, which they also use as their workshop.
Maphala said what makes their business different is that they strictly use old geysers, unlike similar businesses, which use steel drums.
The biggest challenges the company has faced have been the shortage of geysers and the capacity to manufacture in large volumes.
“Another challenge is that we are unable to deliver outside Polokwane due to transportation. Fortunately, we now have a distributor store in Gauteng Province Pretoria, 4King Fantasties Store, which sells our products,” Maphala said.
Paying it forward, Maphala said the company would be donating a braai stand to one local shisanyama business every quarter, starting September 2023.
Matswi Braai Stands are available at their workshop in Seshego Polokwane. Their products are also available in Gauteng through their distributor 4King Fantasties Store in Pretoria.