Having realised that a shortage of watch repair skills exists in the province, qualified local watchmaker Kamba Rakgoale Snr is eager to share his knowledge with youth for them to open workshops and create employment opportunities.
The 61-year-old JK Watchmakers workshop owner started repairing watches in 1979 during his school years. He acquired a diploma in watch repairs from Pretoria Technical in 1981 and subsequently joined a local watch making company until 2003 when he joined another company where he worked until 2015 when he founded his own workshop.
He indicated that he developed the love and passion for watch making after learning the skills from a group of people plying the trade in the Tzaneen area from where he hails. He is currently sharing his skills and knowledge with his nephew, Kamba Rakgoale Jnr.
He stressed that there was a need for more watchmakers in the province as currently there are only two who are qualified: “It is only me and Jacob Ramoroka (75) who are qualified to repair watches in Limpopo and we are ageing. Ramoroka informed me that he would be retiring this year so I will be the only one left in the industry. I am also planning to retire in the next four years or so because this job needs someone with sharp eyes. It is important that we share the skills and knowledge with interested youth before we pass on and this we can only do if we can acquire financial assistance to open a school,” Rakgoale explained.
He further highlighted that his passion was to see people wearing wrist watches to keep them on time. They only fix wrist watches as no one in Limpopo can repair metal piece wall watches and grandfather clocks because they are not equipped with such skills. According to Rakgoale, a watch making training centre would help equip youth with all the skills to repair all kinds of watches. He added that he was among the last group that graduated from the college as it has since been closed.
Rakgaole indicated that most of his customers are from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Venda, Giyani and Nelspruit and stressed that residents in Polokwane take their watches to Johannesburg for repairs whereas there are qualified watchmakers in the city. He pleaded with residents to support local watchmakers for them to earn a decent living and employ more people. Rakgoale urged youth to have role models to stay focused and added that father figures are also vital in a boy child’s life. He concluded by encouraging young people to learn as many skills as possible to increase their chances of getting employment and establishing their own businesses.
Story and photos: ENDY SENYATSI