BBL PARTICIPANT: Pastor Lincoln Phillups, Melkbosrant, Khai-Ma, Northern Cape
In a Nutshell
Through his participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) programme, Lincoln Phillups is developing strategies to maximise his own and his community’s economic activity.
Let’s face it, this community has many challenges. There are no easy answers to poverty, a lack of jobs, drugs, alcohol addiction and a lack of education. So many people here feel those pains every day. So many people here feel neglected by the government.
It would be wonderful if these issues could go away on their own but they won’t. Many kinds of hard work are needed. The only way forward is for us to stand up, employ ourselves and work together with faith in our hearts. When I say what needs to happen, it sounds so simple, but it’s not – starting our own businesses, applying for business funds, gaining skills, hard work – that is what will make things better – it sounds so simple but it is actually very difficult. That is where faith comes in. Like God says, we have to live through faith. We are here on this earth to live through faith even in difficult times. It is faith that helps us all to understand how it is possible to leave difficult times and get to better times.
We will reach better times through love, patience and working together as a community, as a family striving forwards towards success. Again, it sounds so simple but it is never simple. Hard work has to be there to build the businesses that will take us out of difficult circumstances.
Entrepreneurship can sound like a selfish thing but that’s not the way I see it. My vision is for a self-sustaining community full of hardworking people. We may be in different businesses but all of us will be focused towards a single goal of helping each other succeed.
A community that stands together against bad influences will succeed. Again, that sounds so simple but the reality is that it is difficult to achieve. People are complicated and there can be conflict but bad tempers won’t help anything. Standing together in faith and loving each other with patience and positivity that is where the strength to get through obstacles and difficult times starts.
"I enjoy my work but my goal is to have my own business."
I see my personal business goals as part of a broader community goal towards success. I have a dream that my business will connect with other businesses in the area. We will be a network that builds a better community future.
Doing the BBL MyFuture training in early 2021 opened my eyes to new ways to see my life and my work. The training isn’t a magic wand and I didn’t suddenly solve all my problems overnight, but it has helped me to see certain issues more clearly. Especially personal issues around money management and goal setting.
I am already clearer in my mind about the future because of the training and I just have to stick with it because, if my plans for the future are to work out the way I want, those ways of thinking and acting will become more and more important.
I am currently working for a tour company as a driver, transporting tourists to the river as an employee of someone else. I drop them in one spot then provide them with fresh stuff and take away rubbish along the way. I enjoy my work but my goal is to have my own business.
I am proud of who I am and where I come from and I can see many ways to expand on the offering and to show tourists the wonderful things that there are to do in this environment. Often when I talk to visitors they say that they want more than just the river. They want to know about the birds and the medicinal herbs in the veld. They want to ride horses and to find out about the before times art in the caves around here. Those of us who grew up amongst this nature, we know those details. We can fill a gap in the current tourist offering.
If I had my own business I would love to show people those things about this land. Even if there are aspects that I don’t know, I know who does know those things in this community, so I could supply local experts. I see myself as having a business where I coordinate a group of local people, all of whom bring different aspects of local knowledge.
It’s like what I was saying before – a community draws together and each business can draw in other people from the community. I can see that we can draw in other sorts of locals not just as guides – say, for instance, there is a lady who makes nice food. She could do the lunches for people on the tours. Maybe even do cooking classes. There are other people here with skills that could sell things to tourists. For instance, there are ladies here who sew sun hats and aprons and cushions and things. In this community we have got so used to thinking the businesses are in Upington and Springbok, but what we need to understand is how many skills we have right here and how we can turn those skills into business.
It shouldn’t just be about us older people who already have skills. I also feel that we should be training our young people to be river guides rather than bringing those people in. I have spoken to the tour companies about this and I have arranged to meet with them to discuss it further when they next come here.
It’s all about us working together in the whole Onseepkans area in a way that allows us to show others what we can do. That way it will be possible not only to bring money into our communities but also to keep that money circulating in our area. If we help each other and recommend each other, there will be no need to bring in guides and goods from elsewhere.
Like I said, there are still big problems. What I currently lack is a 16-seater vehicle to carry people and a flat trailer to take the equipment to the river. Obviously, things like that cost a lot of money and money is hard to come by, but I am in the process of drawing up a business plan for SEDA to seek funding for a vehicle and a trailer.
"... I believe that if something is in your heart you will find ways to make it work."
If that funding doesn’t work out I am also thinking about ways to earn money so that I can build up and save for the business. Chicken farming appeals to me but I need to get more training and information. I have spoken to KG from SocioTech and told him that I am interested and we have agreed to talk more.
As you can see, my plan is not fully developed yet but I believe that if something is in your heart you will find ways to make it work. You will find the strength to grow and grow.
Amen to that.