Notes from the Field: World Cup Winners

 


Deb Snyder, 2010 Teach with Africa fellow, has a BS in Global Strategic Management and an MBA from Dominican University of California. For more on her experience as a Teach with Africa fellow, follow her blog.

Behind this [World Cup] energy, there is an entire nation waiting for the games to be over to see what will happen.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk to a small business owner, a man who paints beautiful prints (I bought one I like them so much and I RARELY purchase art).

We will call him Asgio.  Asgio’s “shop” is in the basement of an Arts and Crafts center, where many merchants have tiny stalls to sell their wares.  He hand-paints all of his prints, using the townships as inspiration.

I asked what his average daily sales were, and he nets about R250 ($30 US) per day.  That comes out to $900 US per month, if he works seven days a week (which he often does).

I asked about the World Cup and what sort of revenue increase he had seen from that.  He said his store is not on the “tour” route (where the tour buses stop) so he has had almost no increase in sales due to the World Cup.  He had been to a number of meetings sponsored by the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce telling him he could expect wild increases in his sales and to prepare stock to have on hand.

I asked if he had done this. He smiled sheepishly and said “no”.  He quietly told me he really never believes what the government tells him. He is a businessman who knows his own business.

I asked where the World Cup money is going, that there is tourism coming into the country, the planes are full and the hotels are full, and those people are spending money. “They are spending it on food, alcohol, and World Cup FIFA jerseys,” he said. “Not on local arts.”

He said people are worried about the economy when everyone goes home in a couple of weeks.  I asked him if HE was worried, and he got a big toothy grin on his face and said “no”.  He said he is a good businessman and knows how to plan his expenses.

That made me smile.

Then he hit me up for another print.

That made me smile even more.

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