Ashlee Nyathi is a Zimbabwean entrepreneur who had to trade off the dancefloor for entrepreneurship. He is the founder and director of MegaPro Trading Company, a company that supplies Kapenta.
Nyathi is a talented break-dancer who had a dream of making the craft his lifetime career before reality struck. Having developed a love for the dancefloor when he was still in primary school, thanks to watching music videos from the likes of Usher, he saw breakdancing as his future profession. The self-taught dancer went on to perfect his moves and by the time he was in high school, he was a fixture at various dance competitions. After high school however, the young man realized that there was not much to cheer about in the local dance industry as it was not benefiting him much financially.
Though he is now into business he has not completely abandoned the dancing career as he sees himself in a position where he can also make a contribution in the development of dance in the country since he realised that most talent search programmes in the country do not cater for dancers.
His feeling is that there are many talented dancers that are failing to make breakthroughs because they are not being recognised and he understands how it feels to have a talent and not be able to utilise it. He feels there is need to grow the arts industry by encouraging people to promote other genres that are within the arts sector.
In 2015 he started the kapenta business after realising he had to something else to earn a living since dancing was not financially prudent to continue doing. So he met a Nigerian guy who introduced him to the kapenta business and he was shown the ropes and introduced to some players that is when he ended up settling for this this business. He is currently the biggest kapenta supplier in Mbare.
In Zimbabwe, kapenta is largely considered as relish for poor families and Nyathi, who attended upmarket schools, surprised his friends with an idea that seemed foreign to their communities. But the young businessman now supplies markets in South Africa, Botswana and DRC. He also supplies kapenta to most local traders with Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Beitbridge being his big markets. He imports kapenta from Mozambique and delivers many tonnes of the product to the various destinations every week.