At only 22, entrepreneur Jeffrey Mulaudzi has achieved more in the business world than most other 22-year-olds currently graduating from university ever will. His venture Mulaudzi Alexandra Tours was started in 2010 when Jeff was still finishing school where it evolved from showing friends around, to a notable must-see tourist attraction.
Jeff was born and raised in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg where he lived with two siblings and his mother who was a domestic worker. He explains at school he was very restless and wanted to be unique in everything until he finally found an outlet for his restlessness through hockey. Hockey was also what awarded him a bursary at an upmarket school which led him to start Mulaudzi Alexandra Tours. “I had a French hockey coach and in 2010 I gave him a tour of my hometown of Alexandra by bicycle. He enjoyed it so much he immediately called up four more of his friends. With the money they gave me I bought two more bicycles and the business was started,” Jeff explains.
“I love Alexandra, it is a very special place to me. After learning a bit of French from my hockey coach, I always wanted to speak to the tourists that were constantly coming through, but I could never get to them as they almost never left their busses,” Jeff explains. Bicycle tours were thus the perfect medium for the young tour-guide as suddenly tourists were able to interact with Alex, instead of just seeing it.
Jeffrey takes tourists to various heritage sites around Alexandra including a school, Nelson Mandela’s house, a shebeen and Mogudu. “Touring in a bus is like visiting a zoo, I want people to communicate and interact with Alexandra and its people,” Jeff explains.
Jeffrey joined up with MEDO after being introduced to the company through the Treppie van. He explains that the experience taught him to be more adventurous in his business and move out of his comfort zone. “I learnt how to improve my business to generate money through being professional. When it is something so close to your heart it is often difficult to distinguish yourself from your business.”
Looking towards the future Jeffrey sees Mulaudzi Alexandra Tours as a feature part of the soul of Alexandra. “I want people to become aware of Alexandra and put it on the map of something tourists feel they ‘must do’.” He furthers that there is often quite a lot of negative focus on Alexandra as a township, he wants to change that image through creating awareness about its rich history.
On the topic of entrepreneurship in South Africa, Jeffrey’s view is the same as that of his business, “people need to create jobs in order to unleash South Africa to its true potential,” he explains. Jeffrey furthers that though he knows one of his strong points won’t ever be in academics, he knows he is a creator to the true sense of the word, “and that is exactly where I thrive, where I get the freedom to decide on how the business should be managed, where I get the chance to be innovative and therefore fill gaps in the economy. Entrepreneurship is truly a very important and special thing.”
Jeffrey’s life-long dream, apart from Mulaudzi Alexandra Tours is to become a chicken farmer in the Pietersburg area, “for now my passion is cycling, but one day I hope that the tours can be self- sustained, because then nothing will stop me from farming.”