Former Queen’s College pupil Vusumzi Mesatywa, 26, has embarked on an unorthodox business venture of extracting oil from the marula fruit kernels and sometimes infuses it with cannabis oil.
Mesatywa was introduced to marula oil extraction in 2016 by his friends who were involved with the farmers’ association in Pretoria, while he worked for a software development company.
He said he became interested after he learned about the health benefits of the organic oil and was eager to learn to extract the oil himself.
“I became interested in the oil and extraction thereof because of the people in my circle at the time who were into this kind of business. I started selling the oil for myself and developed a client base which led me to quitting my job and focus more on the business which I initially I did on the side.”
Mesatywa indicated his flagship product was the marula oil but he also infused it with cannabis oil on request. He said the oil could be used as a hair moisturiser and also for skin conditions like eczema.
“I generally make natural cosmetic products including organic soaps and moisturising creams. I am looking to expand and focus more on the production side rather than being a retailer because it is less competitive. Profit margins are affected because the retailer determines what they are willing to pay for your product, so you do not have a say about the value of your product.”
Mesatywa indicated he travels to Mpumalanga and Limpopo, areas with a subtropical temperature and where the marula fruit is most prevalent, to get his fruit kernels.
“I currently do not own an oil pressing machine, so when I travel back from getting the kernels I have to first go to Pretoria where my friends have a pressing machine. I return with the oil and package and label it from home in Westbourne where my business operates.”
Mesatywa said what attracted him to Komani were the unused factories in Queendustria he hopes to get space and operate.
“I have since learned it is not easy to navigate the politics in Komani which is what is needed these days to access anything belonging to the local authority or government in general. I have tried unsuccessfully to get space in Queendustria even though there are businesses which have nothing to do with production operating there.”