Project Description

Mzuzukile Soni
Founder & CEO
of BrownSense

Who is Mzuzukile Soni?
and what does he do?

I am Soweto born and raised. I am an only child, but grew up in a house filled with cousins, my grand mother, parents. I grew up in Orlando West, Orlando East and Pimville. Having been born in the late 70s, and spent most of my childhood in the 80s, I got exposed to the struggle through the events that took place in the townships during that era. My aunt (father’s older sister) was also involved in the ANC and left the country around 1984 for exile. These are some of the experiences that shaped me.

In my early teens, I started writing poetry. Something I did until my early 30s. I am a father of 3 children (11, 4 and 3), and am a full time single parent to the oldest 2. I am stubborn in nature, although quietly. Once I am committed to an idea / belief, it is difficult to move from it. I love music (just about all genres – the key thing is the music has to be good for me).

I am a lawyer by training although I no longer practice.

What keeps you on your toes?

Because I struggle to celebrate milestones, I always feel that there’s the next thing to get to.
A better way of doing something, or doing more to get close to achieving the goal.

How Did You Know When You Had The Right Idea?

I knew when the people / the market validated it. Once people confirmed how it is working for them, I knew it was the right idea.

What is BrownSense and BrownSense Market?

BrownSense is a platform that provides Black businesses access to markets. Underlying this is the goal to undo the injustices Black people go through.

Tell us about the power of Social Media/ Digital Marketing for businesses?

Social media
has helped remove gate keeper, and level the play fields for us.
We live in interesting times as anyone with a smart phone and access to the internet can do whatever they wish to do as long as they are committed and consisted.

How have you contributed to Entrepreneurs/ Entrepreneurship space?

I believe we have enabled the growth of many businesses through the platform. We have seen some people leave their jobs to become full time in their businesses as a result of the platform.

Brown Sense.Africa, Tell us more about it.

BrownSense.Africa is our Business to Business and Business to Customer e-commerce platform. BrownSense.Africa is us taking the power into our own hands so that we can be the captains of our destiny.

How has Covid19 Pandemic affected you and your business? & what have you done to adapt to the change?

We closed our monthly market before the lockdown was announced as we could see how COVID19 would impact how we do life and business. Because most of our business is online, this was the biggest impact we suffered. We are all working remotely and this has impacted on a lot as far as turnaround times are concerned. This then led to us prioritizing BrownSense.Africa and giving Black businesses an opportunity to reach their clients.

What’s the future of Black Businesses in your option? especially now that Covid19 has affected a lot.

What I have seen is how resilient people are. I believe there is going to be a lot of innovation, and new entrepreneurs to come out of this.

I foresee the growth in accidental entrepreneurs. These are people who may have never had any interest or intention to become entrepreneurs and were content in their jobs, getting into business and getting the bite entrepreneurship has leading to them being hooked on it.

Any advise to the YOUTH?

Anything worth having is worth the work.
You need to make yourself uncomfortable because that is where growth and opportunity is. Uncomfortable means you may have to confront your fear of selling / talking to strangers. Uncomfortable means you will have to face your fear of rejection/failure. Be consistent. Learn the process, and then learn to love the process. Once you learn to love the process, and not the end goal, you will be hooked on doing it over and over and over and over. Be obsessed with continuous education, and this is not just formal education.
Be led by love.