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Paseka Lesolang

Entrepreneur and Christian

Interview with Mr. Knox

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Interview with Mr. Knox

Founder of Knox Revolution BIKOnscious – Home of Dreadlox Empire: Salon chain stores

1> Individual & Business

BACKGROUND

Born in 1976 in Meadowlands, Zone 3, SOWETO, JHB. I am a third and last born in the family and have an older sister and an older brother. My mother married and separated with my father when I was three. In 1980 she moved with us to QwaQwa and a couple of places afterwards before she eventually settled in WARMBATHS (BELA BELA) in 1983, where she worked as a domestic worker.

RAISED IN BELA BELA; SCHOOL 1984 -1995 primary and high school. My sports were karate, running and body building. I left BELA BELA when I was 19yrs.

  • How did you start your entrepreneurial career?

I studied at TNG (TECHNIKON NORTHERN GAUTENG);TWR (WITS TECHNIKON); WITS UNIVERSITY AND RAU (RAND AFRIKAANS UNIVERSITY) in 1998;2001;2004 and 2005 respectively. I went to four tertiary institutions and dropped out in all at my first year due to painful financial problems. It was in this period, when my entrepreneurial instincts manifested. It was a struggle for survival with no room to fail in life. Firstly, I proposed to Jabu Stone to sell his hair products to fellow students for a small commission and he agreed. Then, as I had beautiful dreadlox at that time and my peers wanted the same, I started twisting and styling their dreadlox at res to make some pocket money. “You use what you have – to get what you don’t have (yet).” (BIKO)

I strongly got motivated to take business serious when I was studying politics encouraged by a chapter which was about the LIFE N TEACHINGS of STEVE BANTU BIKO title: “I WRITE WHAT I LIKE”. Especially page 29-65. Dropping in and out of university, I had hoped that someday someone will come and offer help. But it was in vain. I drew inspiration from what BIKO says on p.65. I quote: “GOD is not in the HABIT of coming down from HEAVEN to Solve People’s Problem on earth”. I knew that I had to get up and do something practical to cross this river.

So, I turned  what i started as a student’s attempt to make some money to support my studies into a business. I opened my first salon in Newtown in 2006, followed by branches in Braamfontein, Pretoria, Melville and Randburg. In 2009 my girlfriend, Magdalena, with her Masters degree in Entrepreneurship, took over the commercial management of the business, which allowed us to expand as well as streamline a lot of processes.

  • What did you want to become prior to exploring your entreprenuerial career?

I wanted to be a great, educated, hardworking family man who handles his personal issues and person life as best as he could without any excuses.  I have never really dreamt to pursue a particular profession per se, just to get any profession, be a good parent and be involved in community development projects.

  • Please explain the reasoning of naming a salon Knox Revolution BIKOnscious?

“BIKOnscious” is a combination of the name BIKO and conscious. It is the teaching of Steve Biko that make me conscious of the potential that lies within and around each and every one of us I realized that i love working with people especially to serve I also take pride in my IDENTITY which is my history and culture.That is where the word “Revolution” comes in as well. I changed the mindset of colonial oriented people in making dreadlox fashionable by influencing people from different aspects and walks of our society including members of churches, corporates, parlament, Tv, young and old, black and white, etc.

  • Is the salon the only business that you have?

Yes, currently the Knox Revolution BIKOnscious – Home of Dreadlox is the only business. It consists of four branches located in Pretoria (CBD) and Johannesburg (Newtown, Melville and Randburg [we relocated our Braamfontein branch to Randburg in 2010]). In the last five years I have been taking young people without a job and skills and trained them to become dreadlox stylists. So far I have trained over 200 youngsters.

Another way of giving back to the community is via the Knox Revolution BIKOnscious – Home of Entertainment. I built a music studio for young talented musicians and producers, which they can use free of charge to persue their passion in music and make career

  • What are your Business Challenges?

The Dreadlox industry is not recognized and regulated at all therefore unethical players create a very unfriendly competition .Our government need to make rules and regulations for a healthy business conducts; fair competition and revenue collection

2> Perspective & Perception

  • What is your take on the South African economy and way forward?

South Africa is a young, vibrant and exiting country with so much potential. In my view we need to zoom our society more closer. We need to know exactly what is happening in our communities for instance:

  • What is the precise number of people in different age groups eg school;working ect?
  • How many are employed / unemployed?
  • How many are disabled?
  • How many are artistic/ academic?
  • What is the skills base & how is it distributed?
  • Can those skills to be used to create employment?
  • How many engage in criminal activity and which individuals have criminal tendencies?
  • How can we curb the criminal or lazy tendency?
  • What are our collective morals and values?
  • What are the natural resources available?

Because only once the current state inside our communities is known – measures can be taken to balance the weaknesses and strength society. Since our economy is our human and natural resources. , Huge Masekela, Mandela & Sisulu, Kaizer Motaung, Jomo Somo, Richard Mapona … the list is endless … those are my role models of success.

  • Do you have a role modal/ where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from my background; the history of my country and our political struggle. I would like to contribute to the development of my country especially morally by being a good person.

 

3> Readers & Aspirants

Must Reads

  • I write what I like (Steve Biko)
  • Capitalistic Nigger
  • Proverbs  & Idioms (Bible)
  • Anything that motivates you to move forward

 

  • What should the youth be conscious of ?

Look up to the best people in your community, in your country. South Africa has  the potential to be one of the best countries in the world. Instead of imitating other countries (like America, China), we with our best behaviour and accepting hard working we can be just as good as they are and there will be a mutual respect. For unity to take place within South African races, honesty, self reliance and love for our country is essential.

  • What is your advice for aspirant entrepreneurs?

Anything that you love and you are good at, is your business. Take it serious, work hard, promote it and let your goal be to influence everyone to see the beauty, value or good in it, if there is. If you like to talk, cook, sing, dance, entertain, gym, gardening, fashion, travel … don’t look too far – just check where your passion is. Apart from major things that contribute to your economy’s growth, we also need to value the minor things like the above mentioned as a starting point for entrepreneurial ventures.

  • Consciousness Magazine

It is a very good initiative. Suggestions: move around in different locations and identify people who make positive contributions for themselves and their environment. Expose their ideas, work and history to the society.

– End –

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