Slim and trim – that is the garden service an innovative Walmer Township man is offering with a creative idea of how to support his family by going mobile.
Armed with determination, Chris Kiswa, 32, has been offering gardening services to residents for the most part of three years. However, a few months ago, he took it up a gear with a bicycle and a modified golf cart to tow his equipment around.
After finishing school at Vernon Gamanda High, Kiswa said he had wanted to study further. “I wanted to study, but there was no money with my mother having to look after me and my brother,” he said. His father died a number of years ago.
Kiswa went to work for gardening services around the city, including one which worked specifically on maintaining municipal parks and large grassy areas.
Following these stints, he decided to offer personal services to make enough money to look after his wife Bongiwe, 31, his six-year-old daughter, Simthanda, and his mother, Gerty Koai.
“I went from house to house on foot, offering to cut people’s lawns, but it was difficult because I didn’t have the equipment,” Kiswa said.
From Lorraine and Charlo to Greenshields Park and Walmer, Kiswa, who started with just two clients, formed a much larger client base, which he visits twice a month. “About a year ago, my neighbour gave me a bicycle to help me get around,” Kiswa said.
A short while later, he was given a golf cart, which he now tethers to his bicycle and loads with equipment including a weed-eater and a rake.
“I had three weed-eaters but someone broke into my house and stole them. Now I have two,” Kiswa said.
Five months ago, Kiswa was offered a contract truck driver position, delivering uncut chickens for a distributor based in Walmer.
“When I finish my shift, I cut lawns for my clients in the afternoons or over weekends,” he said. Kiswa has 14 regular clients on his books and, since latching on the modified golf cart to his trusty bike, his business has been growing.
“I have all the equipment, including a lawnmower, but it is difficult to move it around,” he said. Kiswa’s dream is to one day “be my own boss” and give other people an opportunity to make money.
“I am hoping to save up enough money to buy a car. When that is done, I can give other guys the opportunity to make some extra money by working for me,” he said.