A local company, CNS that derived its name from the acronym of its owner’s names Charles Ntsatsi Shashane is proving an apt player in the rapidly developing Palapye landscape. Shashane masterminded the company’s impeccable growth from a small screen-printing shop in a tiny one-roomed office to a current property industrialist in the village. Mmegi Correspondent KOKETSO KGOBOGE reports
PALAPYE: Currently, CNS accounts for three impressive double-storey buildings in Palapye with another edifice halfway complete.
Its first building has housed CTM for 18 years and the second is home to Builders Mart. Both buildings lie in a prime space along the A1 highway.
The third is a glass building that is an office space occupied by the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) that is an aesthetic in the middle of the village.
In his business endeavours, Shashane has also secured 150 hectors of land between Majestic Five Hotel and Sahara Sands Motel, where CNS Gardens sits.
In the land, he has a restaurant that specialises with game meat and has proven a hit in the local market. In the big farmland, he keeps game animals.
Shashane is also a reputable commercial farmer with his breed of Boerbok goats. “All these are profitable expansions I proudly made over the years from my screen printing business, which I still run to date,” Shashane said.
The business diversification proved handy to cushion CNS in the devastating coronavirus era where businesses are at sixes and sevens. CNS found the recent lockdown as an opportunity to give back to the community.
“We partnered with BIUST (Botswana International University of Science and Technology) and assisted with branding the products it distributed across the country. We also supported the Palapye Administration Authority with meat supplies and water as a way of giving back,” he said.
Shashane also started CNS back in 1998 in Zimbabwe where he was studying A-levels. He set up connections for printing materials in the yesteryear breadbasket of Africa, as Zimbabwe was fondly known.
He brought a Zimbabwean friend he met while studying to start the screen-printing shop. After two years the company had grown and moved to a larger space. Four years down the line, CNS reached greater heights.
CNS later on expanded its operations to areas outside Palapye and opened outlets in Serowe, Selebi-Phikwe, Letlhakane and Maun. It proved a timely move to place the company in various areas.
The reforms of vehicle registration numbers in 1994 when number plates were changing from old registration codes to the current ones brought more business and CNS benefitted handsomely from the intervention.
Shashane’s company commanded strong signage participation in the Central District. It made signboards for all Central District Council primary schools and clinics. The road signs also contributed to the growth of the company.
As more players went into the industry, profits in screen-printing declined, and Shashane diversified. He closed remote outlets and focused at home.
He learnt a lesson from expensive rentals the company paid and reckoned it was time he operated from his own buildings. He embarked on the construction of a double-storey building for his screen-printing shop at his industrial plot along the A1 Highway.
The structure attracted CTM and Builders Merchant Botswana who wanted to occupy the space. He penned contracts with the two companies and dipped deep into his savings to construct two buildings at the same time.
The buildings became his gateway into the property business. When
The Directorate of public prosecutions (DPP) glass double-storey building was born and latest, its sister building that is under construction. Another four-storey building is beckoning in a 400 square meter space near CTM.
“We recently concluded the environmental impact assessment that was delayed by Covid-19 outbreak, but the plans for the four-storey building are already complete,” he said.
Shashane said he has met his fair share of challenges ranging from near collapse to robberies while in business. At some point, Shashane said he struggled to secure a P5 000 to keep the company afloat. “And I thought of quitting and going job hunting.”
“I had to print and supply for a P12 000 tender, and I could not afford materials. Even banks turned me down. I persevered and at the end took great savings lessons from that situation,” he added.
In 2005, after closing printing shops outside Palapye, he invested in running a filling station business at Caltex in Palapye. His business endured three gunpoint robberies in five years.
The incident that was a stroke that broke the camel’s back was when he and his wife faced the armed robbers.
“We were at the firing end of the gun and I was forced under the table with my wife. It was life-threatening, and before long we had quit the business,” he said.
He switched to running a gym in the village that was known as CNS Gym. Five years later he sold it to Jack’s Gym and concentrated on commercialising his farm.
“Farming was always dear to me, and starting the business was not rocket science. I developed it quickly, and I have raked many accolades from different shows with my breed of goats. It is fulfilling and at the same time has good rewards,” Shashane said.
His prospect in the large farm area is to diversify into tourism. In his farm, he currently has sizeable numbers of Giraffes, Zebras, Springboks, Impalas and Ostriches.
At the frontage of the farm sits his unique restaurant that has claimed its stake in competition against big brands restaurants like KFC, Nandos, Capello, Chicken Licken, Steers, Debonairs to mention a few.
“This is an area to promote family outings. It also has the biggest swimming pools in the village. We have also set up game drives in the farm for those who wish to view the animals.”
In the pipeline, he said there would be chalets inside the farm. He added, “The idea is to tap into tourism and bring to Palapye, a near feel of the serenity one would get from the countries best lodges at Okavango deltas.”
The father of two boys and a daughter reckoned property is the best legacy to be remembered for, after lessons from his old man Otaata Shashane.
“Despite what businesses brands rent at my father’s shopping complex, the place is still known in the village as kwa ga Shashane. That is the legacy I wish to leave,” he said.