Accounting student opens Cape’s first township pharmacy

Applying the knowledge obtained from class, a second-year Accounting student, has created a business opportunity out of a community problem.

After noticing how difficult it is for residents in disadvantaged areas such as Khayelitsha and Joe Slovo to access medicine, Thembekile Mahintsho recently opened Mangethe’s Medi Store, the first and only pharmacy in Joe Slovo.

With motivation from this lecturers, including Andre van den Bergh, Widaad Martin and Anthony Ezeonwuka, Thembekile started the pharmacy in June using savings from his study loan.

“Accounting teaches us to think outside the box; the knowledge gained from CPUT is now applied to solve real-life problems,” says the tenacious 22-year old. “CPUT has played a huge role in preparing for this life as an entrepreneur.”

Thembekile’s pharmacy has been mentioned in over ten newspapers. He sells only over the counter drugs and not prescribed medicine.

He adds that he aims to grow the business but first he wants to make it viable.

His range of products on sale includes African traditional medicines because he says that he understands his customers’ needs and always strive to address them.

What gives him a competitive edge over the large supermarkets is that he sells his products cheaper and only charges his customers an additional R10 for delivering their medicines at their homes. He even sells on credit but does not add interest to the prices.

Thembekile adds that when the news about his pharmacy first broke, Western Cape Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, got hold of him and promised that her office will facilitate for him to be awarded a pharmacy license.

His now awaiting the pharmacy council to visit his store and inspect whether it can be considered for licensing.

“The Cipla Foundation has been sponsoring me with their products, Rabie Property Group Pty Ltd at Century City funded me with R10 000 and the NYDA has approved my funding application which will see them funding me with a brand new motorbike, stock and a cash register machine.

PIONEER: Thembekile Mahintso