Some 2500 Cameroonians live in South Africa, notably in the major cities of Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
A good number of them are studying, while others are hustling to make ends meet. In a context of limited job opportunities, many Cameroonians living in Johannesburg have opted to start businesses of their own.
Dongmo Furniture, opposite the High Court in the central business district of Johannesburg is today part of three furniture stores born out of the determination of Theodore Dongmo a young Cameroonian who arrived South Africa in 2005.
“We are talking about 3million Rands for this branch of pre-chart. But we’re talking about more other branches, ah I can say about 10 million Rands, the capital of my business for the moment.”
He has taken advantage of the tax breaks and investment climate to scale up his business from just furniture sale to manufacture, creating 90 jobs, and opening three other branches.
“South Africa gives good opportunity for the people who like to open a company. When it comes to the manufacture side then the bank, they check all the way you operate and then they can also give you the loan, your bank can also give you motivation”
Not far off in the student residential area of Braamfontein, Mvoubangsi Genesis the CEO of Graceland Beauty Saloon is another Cameroonian who has settled into the South African business tissue.
“I came here to study, then I realised it was not that easy, then I started a barbing saloon by training myself how to shave, I did not have any idea about it. I trained myself, there was nobody to help me things like that, then from there God blessed me, I had a bigger saloon, a bigger space then I employed guys we are about 17 of us.”
Eric Tala alias Shaman, also started as a barber. Today runs a cabaret night club, Chronic 24/7, and is branching into show business.
“I invited Mathematic de Petit Pays, and right now with the guys I am working with we are busy communicating with Longue Longue, which he will be coming in November, which is not yet confirmed.”
Like them many other Cameroonians are excelling in various fields like education, medicine, engineering and entertainment in South Africa, and quite a handful are keen on investing back home.