Updated: Nov 21, 2020
My first full time employment in 1981, was at a small manufacturing company employing thirty plus people. I worked in the upstairs design office with a two seventy degree elevated view over the surrounding mini factories. Early mornings started with droves of people making their way in to their places of employment. At 7am, the reliable buzz of equipment and elevated voices, with regular deliveries of materials and collections of locally manufactured product was a given. Products included, golf carts, trolleys, garden furniture, umbrellas, shop interiors, signage and other. I recall a tremendous sense of pride, when recognizing the manufactured goods by this community of producers in the retail stores around the country. I was even more proud in the knowledge that many of the collections were for export abroad.
I have on two occasions, needed to drive past this area in recent weeks. Frankly it is akin to skirting a cemetery on a Monday. Only a handful of people can be observed. The loading zones that used to spill over with goods awaiting dispatch are now barren and lifeless, the normally open roller shutters are down and there is now an abundance of vacant parking.
The products that I used to witness being made are still available, but no longer made in South Africa. Why? In my