After almost eight years with no job, 'I'm queueing for a living'
Standing in snaking queues – whether at Home Affairs, collecting a social grant, or a visit to a congested clinic – is a boring and time-consuming task many South Africans find themselves doing more often than they would like.
After listening to complaints from people in his community, especially the elderly, 29-year-old Koketso Denny Nkuna from Burgersfort in Limpopo had an idea. He would stand in the queues instead - for a fee.
Nkuna said that he had been unemployed for nearly eight years and had grown despondent about ever finding a job. Burgersfort, which falls under the Sekhukhune district municipality, is home to more than 20 mines but towns there, including Burgersfort, are among the most impoverished in the country.
Nkuna, who studied engineering, said he needed a way to support his girlfriend and their baby. “I had a bad experience with job hunting and the recent retrenchment of workers in my area led me to start this business,” he said.
“I identified that queues are a big problem in the country. So I decided to provide a much-needed service by standing in line on behalf of people. I thought I would give it a try and maybe, if it worked, provide an income for other young men,” he said.
Nkuna employs five people. On the job they wear bright orange bibs with “I queue 4 You” on either side, along with their contact number. They charge R50 per client, but this fee increases to R100 for every additional hour they spend in line, Nkuna explained.
“We have people coming up and asking us what we do. My clients phone me to tell us where they want us to wait in the queue for them. My clients are all ages, not just the gogos,” he said.
Nkuna hopes to grow his business to areas outside Burgersfort and is looking for investment partners. “It would be great if someone could help us design an app like Uber where our clients can book us and we can plan where we need to be queueing. We are looking for the business to grow and spread to other places in the country,” he said.
This article was first published by GroundUp