’’Spider’ is just one of the young entrepreneurs that Zambian Breweries is helping to empower’’
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – When ‘ visits bars and restaurants, he is not ‘here for the beer’. His mission is to collect bottle tops, as they are an essential ingredient in his art, design work and business.
It was in 2015, when after reading an article in one of the newspapers, Corporate Affairs Director at Zambian Breweries Ezekiel Sekele decided to follow through and meet Kapeya at his working place at the Arcades Sunday market. From there, the business was interested in supporting Spider’s project as it was promoting recycling, which is one of the initiatives undertaken by Zambian Breweries.
Kapeya Kangolo’s talent involves the use of bottle tops, wire, and pieces of metal to turn what might have ended up in the recycling bin into pen-holders, toothbrush-holders, book racks and magazine-holders. He also makes earrings, bar counter stools, lounge chairs, tables and picture frames.
This has been a way of life for Kapeya popularly known as Spider, for nearly 20 years. He credits his former boss with inspiring him to start up his bottle-top activities, and he has now received sponsorship from Zambian Breweries under its Kick-Start, a Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP), which has come on board to help him purchase the machinery that he needed for the manufacture of his products.
“Some people come with their own designs and I make for them whatever they want,” he says, citing bar counter stools as the best sellers, with demand for them at around K300 each. Lounge chairs cost about K600, tables come in at K750, and a vegetable rack fetches K250.
“I get the bottle tops from bars and restaurants. I go to these places and tell the owners not to throw away the bottle tops. I collect the bottle tops on Monday and I sort them out, and those for Fanta, Sprite, Mosi etc, I put separately. I have made collecting bins and placed them in some restaurants so they keep the bottle tops in them for me,” he said.
Spider hopes to expand his business to other parts of the country in addition to the tourist capital, Livingstone, where he currently sends his products.
He claims that from the bottle top business he manages to support his family. He sells his products at the Arcades Sunday market and at the Dutch monthly market in Kabulonga.
He encourages youths to venture into entrepreneurship and start up a business to earn income instead of waiting, expecting opportunities to come to them.
Spider’s next venture is making products out of plastic bottles. He has pointed out that there are many plastic bottles lying around on the streets which would be useful to someone with his skills. He is in some way contributing to keeping the environment clean by picking the bottle tops that could have been making the city dirty.
Mr Sekele said that the company was happy to help young people in Zambia and to expand their businesses in order to earn a living: “Our dream is to bring people together for a better community and country. We want to impact positively on livelihoods. We believe that when our people prosper then our business will in turn grow sustainably. We want to help many small-scale businesses to grow also their families. For Spider, we empowered him with the tools that he needed for growth,” he said.