Young IT expert Ndaelo Tshikovhi changes lives
Playing in the ICT business space with its highly competitive nature has seen many small business go under but not for Ndaelo Tshikovhi after successfully navigating this space.
Thohoyandou-based Tshikovhi is the founder and owner of Third Century Computing, a one-stop shop technology and communication warehouse, the shop sells technology products and also act as an internet cafe, printing services, a gaming cafe with online services.
In addition, it specialises in CCTV and alarms installations and technical support, multimedia solutions and training services.
"My interest in technology was aroused while I was still at primary school. I was inquisitive. When my parents where not around I used to open the back of the TV to find out what was transmitting the picture and the sound," recalls Tshikovhi.
In 2005, after matric he went to study mechanical engineering at a college in Pretoria but dropped out due to losing interest as his mind was more on computer science.
"I asked myself, 'what would happen after completing my studies in mechanical engineering yet that was something I didn't like and enjoyed doing?'. Initially I didn't tell my parents I had dropped out, but they eventually found out," he says.
"Personally I don't like to work under supervision. I'm one person who enjoys managing my time, not someone else's time.
"I remember when I bought my first PC with my allowance, it took time for me to use it as I was thinking about what's inside. I didn't rush things. I researched thoroughly on all things related to computer science and IT [information technology].
"Most significantly I taught myself how to assemble a PC. I bought cheap, second hand products, including RAM. before long I had mastered assembling a PC. I connected it to a LCD and LED TV.
"The memory was robustly quick and that impressed a lot of people and friends. They wanted me to instal the software to their PCs and that's how my business got off the ground."
Tshikovhi, 34, is married to Musiwalwo and they have three kids.
"I'm driven and motivated by the desire to take IT to the remotest parts of Thohoyandou and the greater Limpopo province. I started and operated my business while studying but abandoned my studies after my second year.
"I enjoy watching people's minds and their world being opened up by having access to internet technology. As friends and neighbours started flocking in to have their software remodelled, I had made an impression on them as their PCs and laptops genius. I was able to buy my first car, a Citi Golf.
"I enrolled at College Campus in Pretoria to study for a two-year diploma in networking. In 2006 I registered the business and launched it in the Pretoria CBD while renting space from other tenants but after a year I leased my own warehouse, shop and office space."
Tshikovhi moved the business to his home town of Thohoyandou in 2009. He's planning to open his second store by June but his bigger dream is to open a training academy.
The ICT entrepreneur has employed 14 permanent staff members, four work part-time and he is training six young prospective IT specialist - free of charge.
"Technology is not going anywhere but I believe it must not replace people. People must continue servicing the machines."