Award-winning entrepreneur Mpata Khunou is set to showcase his unique jewellery in Botswana
At just 22, Mpata Khunou is a businessman to watch. As the founder and owner of MLK Jewellery, he was recently honoured at the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality’s Small, Medium and Micro Entrepreneurs Awards, held in Rustenburg.
Khunou makes bespoke, top-of-the-range, must-have jewellery for men and women. And his vision is to take his business to the world. Rubbing shoulders with Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi and former Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni is not to be scoffed at. At the same time, Khunou is humble enough to call his clients his “friends”.
His lifelong love for bright, shiny things saw him polishing shoes when at school, then later on working as a casual at Arthur Kaplan Jewellers in the Waterfall Mall, Rustenburg.
“I worked every single weekend,” he says. “I missed parties, weddings, you name it, so I could learn everything about selling and about jewellery. I wanted to learn how it was made, too.”
He dropped out of school to chase his dream and found his way to the SEDA Platinum Incubator (SPI), where he studied jewellery design and manufacture for 18 months.
“The hub has world-class facilities and equipment to make jewellery in a safe environment,” says Khunou. “You get to work with precious metals and stones and you learn how to enter the jewellery market.”
In March this year, he registered his own company, MLK Jewellers.
“I’m so proud of my business,” says Khunou. “So much jewellery is imported and I believe South African designers should receive support. What we are making here and on the African continent is absolutely unique.”
Khunou works around the clock, determined to grow his business. As a young man with vision, he believes his jewellery “will make the people who buy it feel like kings and queens”.
As a motivational speaker who believes everyone is a diamond waiting to be discovered, nothing holds Khunou back.
“If your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough!” he laughs. Part of his vision is to be a role model to the youth.
“I tell them that they’re almost my age and if I can do it they can do it,” he says. “I’d like to see them using their talents, not wasting them.”
He will be showcasing his products at the Conference & Exhibition Centre at Fairgrounds, Gaborone , where he hopes to gain exposure to a whole new market.
“I’ll be showing off our engagement rings, wedding rings, dress rings, bangles, earrings, bracelets, pendants and watches,” he says. “Everything is made in pt 950 Platinum, 18-carat or nine-carat yellow gold and sterling silver. One day, I want my company to be known as the jewellery Mecca of Africa!”