- He was not on the list of students who had received government sponsorship.
- “Initially my mother who is a public servant tried to pay for my education but she later gave up. She could not afford since she did not earn much,” says Masambu who was raised by his mother following his parents’ separation.
Just three months after he joined the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) for a Bachelor of Science in Insurance and Risk Management degree programme in 2013, Bright Masambu, 26, postponed his studies.
He was not on the list of students who had received government sponsorship.
“Initially my mother who is a public servant tried to pay for my education but she later gave up. She could not afford since she did not earn much,” says Masambu who was raised by his mother following his parents’ separation.
His dropping out of college made him a statistic among hundreds of youth from low income families who postpone higher education studies every year due to failure to get government sponsorship. Since there was no hope he would get a government loan to continue with his studies, Masambu had to leave college to find a way to pay for his studies.
“I postponed studies to find money to pay for my education. I was determined to go to college and so there was no way I was going to give up,” recalls Masambu, now in his third year at IFM. He was readmitted to the college a year later in 2014, after he had raised enough money to pay for his education. He expects to graduate this year.
“The kind of life I grew in made me a fighter. I had to struggle for my future,” he says, narrating how he managed to raise money to get back to college.
After he left college, Masambu started selling cosmetics in offices around the city. He later switched to readymade clothes, a business he did for almost a year.
Among the challenges he faced in the business was the size of the clothes. Since he only bought a few pieces depending on the amount of money he had at the time, it was not easy to satisfy the needs of all his customers. This is because some customers could not get clothes to fit them and would therefore not buy. Another challenge was the fact that some people did not like buying readymade clothes because everyone would be wearing the same. Masambu had to come up with a solution for this and that’s when the idea of making his own clothes came to mind.
He told his customers that he made clothes and because he did not have enough capital to buy sewing machines and rent a room for the purpose, he used take orders, get a tailor to take the measurements and have the clothes made by the tailor. He used to buy the required material using advance payment.
Starting a clothing line
Masambu started with men’s shirts and later added suits to the list.
It was when he started making suits that he started enjoying the fruits of his labour. His customer base expanded and he started making good money.
In 2016, Bright Wear was born after Masambu had earned enough money to rent a room for an office. Today he owns four sewing machines and employs four tailors.
“I knew nothing about tailoring when I started. I had to fight to go back to college or else only God knows where I would be today,” recalls the third born in a family of eight children.
“I had to struggle, to get money for school fees and other personal expenses. Because my mother could not afford to pay for my education, I had to fight to also help her and lift my family out of poverty,” says Masambu.
Dressing high profile people
His struggles bore fruit and today Masambu is a self-sponsored third year student at IFM, thanks to his clothing business, which is also his means of earning a livelihood.
Located in Sinza-Afrika Sana , Bright Wear which offers customized designs, men’s wedding clothes, executive suites and African print clothes serves a range of customers.
The majority according to the enterprising young man are private and government employees, ministers, MPs and other suit lovers. On average, the enterprise serves between 20 and 40 customers in a month.
“I have dressed ministers like Dr Charles Tizeba, Dr Hamisi Kigwangala and MPs like David Silinde, John Heche, Musa Ntimizi and others,” says Masambu beaming with pride.
However, he says it’s not a simple job attracting high profile customers. Satisfying their needs is another challenge that requires a lot of focus and patience.
To have MPs on his clients list, saying he had to travel all the way to Dodoma during a parliament session at some point.
“I had to go to Dodoma to introduce myself and my work to the MPs. I made a lot of business cards and stood at the parliament’s main gate and gave out the business cards to everyone who passed through the gate.”
The following day, Masambu says, one MP offered to introduce him to his fellow MPs. His efforts paid off as some law makers are now his good customers.
His hard work and enterprising spirit are the reasons he is in college today. Apart from paying his college fees, the money he earns from the business enables him to pay house rent, all his other expenses as well as taking care of his family back in Singida Region.
While at his office and after learning what he went through to be where he is both as a student and a small entrepreneur, I could not help but admire his enterprising spirit.
Very few would dare to follow the route he followed to be where he is today.
He did not give up after missing out on government loan but used his brain to achieve his dream.
“My company is not yet registered but we are in the process of obtaining both a licence and registration,” says Masambu who will celebrate his 27th birthday on the 24th of this month.
Masambu was born on 24th of June in 1990 in Musoma Municipality and started his primary education in 2005 at Mwembeni Primary School in the municipality.
He joined Tarime Secondary School for his O’level studies and graduated in 2009 after which he joined Ikizu High School where he graduated in 2012.
When he finishes college this year, Masambu plans to concentrate on expanding his business. He believes his education will add a lot of value to his enterprise.
“As young and energetic youth, we are supposed to work really hard to make the most of life. With determination I believe we can make things happen,” he advises.
Masambu hopes his education will help him expand his business and enable him fulfill his dream of becoming the best designer in the country.
His competitive edge is ‘good quality products.’
Although Masambu earns enough money to sustain his personal needs, he says capital to expand his business is the major challenge he is currently facing.
“This is what has been delaying my efforts to get a business licence and company registration. Without these, I been unbale to participate in tendering which I am sure would boost my business,” says Masambu.
He believes he will get there soon.