Dady’s story

 

“My start wasn’t easy, but I focused, took my opportunity and worked hard. Today, I can’t say I have arrived, but I can see the signs that I am on my way.”

If you’ve ever been to visit the Ashanti Store on Kloof Street, you will know that shining eyes, a captivating smile and deep voice – always seemingly on the edge of laughter – are the first to greet you.

Dady is the face of Ashanti, the sales manager and most importantly – the beating heart of a warm and welcoming team. His booming laugh, kindness and exceptional customer service are the cornerstone of the store and his positivity seems infectious to all those that are lucky enough to spend even a moment of time with him.

However, Dady’s journey to Ashanti was far from smooth.

His is a story of humbleness; of loss, courage and a steely determination to never give up.


Dady was born many miles away in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and life in Cape Town was never part of the plans. After school, Dady was primed to go to college in London with his father’s support, but first, he had to learn English. Dady spent two years in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he learned his impeccable English from scratch – making sure he knew everything he could to excel at his studies.

While in Zimbabwe, civil war erupted at home and his father tragically lost everything. Dady knew that his studies in the UK needed to be put on hold and he decided to travel to Cape Town to work and save money.

He glosses over his start in Cape Town, which I can only imagine wasn’t easy, and immediately jumps to the moment that he met Rob and started working at Ashanti 17 years ago. Rob immediately recognised that Dady was someone special; he was kind, humorous and had an unwavering ambition to learn more and knew that he wanted him to be a part of building Ashanti.

To start with, Dady lived in Rob’s garage fixing computers, while they got Ashanti off the ground. They worked together making ostrich egg mosaics and other bits and bobs, before discovering the fabric and turning Ashanti into the magnificent business that it is today. Dady has been at the company for nearly two decades and worked himself right up to a position in which he thrives.

One of the biggest things I noticed about Dady when interviewing him, wasn’t just the absolute pride that he had for the company, from where it started to where it is today, or how excited he was to have been able to buy his very first car because of Ashanti.

It was when he talked about people that he really lit up: his clear adoration for his wife Judith , who is a seamstress at the company, and their three kids Agnes, Dan and Stephen; the joking manner in which he told Eran she could get a sneak peek of the interview for a cup of tea, and his appreciation of Rob,

“Rob is a role model, that’s for sure. But to me, he is much more than that: he is not just an employer, he is a brother.”

It’s clear to see that Dady’s soft spot is for the people that he surrounds himself with and the customers he interacts with every day. One of his favourite moments that he mentioned was an American woman, who many months after she had visited told a friend to ask for him at the store. What struck me was that rather than being proud of being singled out, Dady was proud that this meant he had given this lady the customer service that he believes everyone who visits Ashanti should receive.

“What’s the best part about your job Dady?” I asked.
“Every day. Because when I come into this store – I am coming home.”

One day Dady hopes to own his own business and continue to preach the word of God, however, in the meantime, he is content sharing his ‘home’ with everyone that walks through Ashantis’ doors.