In the hills south of Pietermaritzburg and Edendale, one finds the well-run and thoroughly organised Sinathing School. Understanding that there was a great need for books at the school, Venns produced a purpose-built library cabinet on wheels - to store and display books donated by the company - where it can provide a resource for the children. On Friday 27 May directors of Venns handed over the cabinet to the senior staff and a small group of the children - who were completely enchanted by the books and sang their thanks to the Venns’ staff who were present.
As part of a Mandela Day outreach, and acutely aware of the bitterly cold winters and shivering children and their parents, we have given warm blankets to communities in Edendale and Esigodini.
An innovative self-help project provided food to hungry communities through “Jars of Hope” – the contents of each jar comprised a balanced range of nourishing foods - pulses, rice, stock cubes and more besides – enough to feed a family of four for two days. Just add water. Boil. Enjoy.
Realising staff without their own cars need to get and from the city centre to work, as well as to and from the Deeds’ Office and the Magistrates’ Court in the city, Venns have an arrangement with Mr Thokozani Mcshali who runs his own taxi service in a minibus leased to him through Venns. He has done very well for himself, and for Venns. A win-win situation.
Operating out of the kitchen at Venns, Mrs Winnie Mkhize has built a thriving catering business - producing wonderful cappuccinos and muffins, sausage rolls and much else besides. She started this from scratch with no experience, but with the assistance of the Venns infrastructure, she has developed a reputation far and wide amongst the Venns’ staff and in the community of businesses which surround Venns. Winnie now also assists people in her community to start their own food production. We love Winnie. Everybody loves Winnie!
When Venns moved to the Victoria Country Club Estate, several plans’ filing cabinets were found to be superfluous. They were duly delivered to a carpenter who made them into two classroom desks per cabinet – which were then delivered to a school in Esigodini.
When Thokozani started Thokozani Transport at Venns, city food-deliveryman, Mondli Bhengu, (photo above, on the left) joined our firm. Not only did he deliver documents on the Venns’ Honda bike but, in addition, he was very capable with doing repairs around the office - to the extent we call him “Boss Jack” – of all trades! We gave him a loan to buy two more motorbikes, gloves and helmets.
Whilst he works permanently for Venns, he rents the other two motorbikes to friends who do private work on them – and they pay him weekly bike rentals which contribute to the repayment of the original loan. Out of recognition for the help Venns gave him, he has named his small bike business Ngibongiseni Express – which means “Help me to say thank you.”
This is another neat Venns small-business venture in setting up a capable man in a meaningful business.