‘Hoho’s tale of success
By Yankho Phiri
The reason one should never give up in life is because everything is hopeless when it is just a dream; unless one tries it. Kasungu based entrepreneur, philanthropist, event organizer, music promoter, and Director of Ceremonies Noah Suzgo Nhlane, did not only dream of ever making it in life but also believed in his capabilities.
There were a lot of things that could have made Nhlane, popularly known as ‘Hoho’ in Kasungu, give up in life but he pushed on and became an epitome of hard work over time in Kasungu. A secondary school dropout due to lack of school fees, he believed in himself and ventured into a small scale business then later found his way as an entrepreneur. No sooner than later the once hopeless young man became self-reliant.
“After completing my secondary school, I wanted to study business management at any college but I didn’t have that chance because of financial challenges, this did not knock me down as I had hoped that I can do better if I try something else like business,” Nhlane said as he opened for me a chapter into his life.
He did not need a big investment to kick start what has now made him a well-known entrepreneur in Kasungu.
Ideas came knocking in his head because of a desktop computer set which was at his disposal at his home. “I started with burning compact discs (CDs) and transferring music into memory cards in 2010. After doing it for a while I kept some of the proceeds which I later invested into a stationery business,” he explained.
But then it struck Nhlane that he should venture into another business which needed time and patience. At this point he pauses to stress on the importance of diversification remembering the old adage that ‘never put all your eggs in one basket.’
His biggest idea came after he admired those people hired out Public Address Systems to organizations, but was not impressed with the quality of the service that were being rendered.
Eventually he secured his own and started the PA system hiring out business.
This business was a tall order for him, being a rookie on the scene. Like any other naïve business person Nhlane explains that finding and impressing customers to hire his equipment was a very big challenge. In his mind he was left hopeless feeling that the business would not ever get to successful levels that he wished for when venturing into it.
Today the name Hoho is a household name in Kasungu municipality and the whole district.
The turnaround of the business he said happened when he decided to brand the venture, hence the name ‘Hoho Magic Sounds’.
Derived from the name of his home village in the area of Traditional Authority Mzikubola in Mzimba, Nhlane said the name ‘Hoho’ is also one easy way for him to bond and relate with his grassroots.
This coincided with the campaign trail of 2014 in which one of the candidates [for parliamentary seat] hired his equipment for campaign activities in his area. He describes 2014, as a year of breakthrough. That was just the beginning, but life changed in 2017 when for the first time he made almost K3 million within a month. Currently, Nhlane is enjoying the fruits of hard work as he is able to support himself and also share with the needy.
“I started from zero, and I know how it feels to have nothing. After paying my bills and helping my siblings, I donate to needy people especially primary school students who lack school uniforms and some other school necessities,” he says.
He has managed to donate various items to needy learners in primary schools including Boma Primary where about 35 students received school uniforms and note books. The success of his business comes with some little secrets he is ready to share. “Praying hard, being humble to customers and taking advice from well experienced people in business,” he says.
The PA address system business is synonymous with directing ceremonies and Nhlane has talent in this as well.
As a result Nhlane has trusted capable hands to man the equipment whenever he has a business deal as he utilises his other rare talent of emceeing.
Nhlane discovered this talent in 2018 at a Plan International function in Ntchisi where he had gone for the PA system business but it chanced on him to direct proceedings of the event.
“Frankly speaking it was not intentional for me to become a director of ceremonies, the audience there in Ntchisi got captivated and later gave me positive feedback,” he says. Frequent practicing perfected the art and he has now become one of the best in the game in Kasungu. Apart from several weddings he has ably controlled as a master of ceremonies, he has also been trusted with directing organisations’ events and political party rallies.
The innovative mind of Nhlane has also seen him become event organizer and music promoter. Adding weight to brand in entertainment circles, Hoho has on separate occasions brought to Kasungu celebrated artists like Tay Grin and Piksy for music shows.
Those were rare moments for people of Kasungu who had a chance to see what they usually heard from friends who visit the tobacco growing town. “My objective is to empower the youths and protect them from bad behaviors so I organize such shows to help Kasungu youths be recognized country wide, “We mix them with wellknown figures and share the stage with them so that they may be motivated and have a chance to prosper,”Nhlane narrated.
As if this is not enough Nhlane says he dreams of opening a non-profitable organisation in the near future which will be carrying out several charitable projects.
“If everything goes as planned, with all hopes I will be starting my own local organisation which will focus on youth and children,” he says.
During his free time Nhlane loves being with his family and playing pool as his favorite hobby. The 28-year old young man, who has also employed three people in his ventures, wishes to enroll for a course in business administration to sharpen his business skills. “At my free time I like chilling with family and friend plus playing pool which is my favorite sport. My wish of studying business management is not yet dead as I am now ready to support myself hoping that it will help me sharpen my business skills.”—Mana/YP
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