Competition for his business is mainly from a nation-wide quality store, the equivalent of marks and Spencer in the UK and Europe. Competition from a large but less expensive retail chain is declining. Navavee is critical of what he perceived as exploitation of the small CMTs. According to Navavee, big buyers used to make an arrangement with some CMTs to purchase all of their production. Having become the sole buyer, and having made the CMTs dependent on them, the output is then often rejected for quality reasons. After a few days, the large buyers then offer to continue purchasing the products but at a lower price. The CMTs had no alternative but to accept. Navavee suggests that the large companies were controlling the industry in that way, but he adds a racial twist. The CMTs are largely run by „Coloureds‟ who, probably as a result of the psychological contamination of apartheid, do not stand their ground.
30 Navavee bemoans what he sees as a lack of an entrepreneurial spirit, particularly as, in his view, „Coloureds are the best seamstresses‟. Navavee is of the opinion that this situation has improved somewhat, in that the small guys realized that they must „get their act together‟. They have started becoming more professional. They are now operating better, there is an understanding between the two parties, simply because they realized that they need each other. Mathews believes that apartheid worked to the state‟s advantage in some instances; for example, it managed to split communities. „Some even lost their cultures, and adopted “phoney” cultures from America. The system also caused splits among the rich and the poor. The rich aligned themselves with the ruling party and the poor with the opposition or activists fighting for the noble things in life‟. „The community is still split. People need education and other basic needs in life. These basic human needs will empower the community‟, Navavee states with some anger in his voice. He is also of the opinion tha t the „Coloured‟ people are still marginalized, and that they are losing out once again. „The fight for survival and recognition is still on us, but I think we have a better chance now than before. We need to do something for ourselves‟, he says. Navavee has not been alone in the recent development of his business. Azzad, who left his family with nothing but his clothes, joined Navavee as a salesperson. After spending three years studying computer science at a prestigious local university, Azzad had to abandon his studies after interpersonal problems with his father. His family‟s lack of faith in him, he says, gave him the determination to „prove them wrong‟. While working for Navavee, Azzad and a fellow salesperson earned extra income by selling swimwear. When he was offered a quarter share in the company, Azzad bought the shares with this additional income and with a loan from his grandmother. A year later, he bought a further 10 per cent share and was brought into the manufacturing side of the business. Under the supervision of Navavee, he started off in the
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