What started as an unlikely backyard dream for 49-year-old Kehano ‘Shakes’ Akoonyatse has developed into a distinct reality.
Through hard work, determination and perseverance, the driven Bobonong native has turned Aklet Auto and Parts (PTY) LTD into a flourishing business.
Founded in 2008 and situated in Gaborone West Industrial, the automotive enterprise offers a plethora of car-related services.
These include: vehicle diagnosis, coding and programming of computer box and keys, engine and gearbox overhaul, spare parts and panel beating.
Sitting down with Voice Money this week, the unassuming and easy-going Shakes opens up about his journey from a shabby one-man operation that began in his yard in Phase II Gaborone, to a fully licensed enterprise.
The Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) technician reveals that on an average working day, together with his four mechanics, he can service up to 25 cars – 10 for a normal service and 15 for a repair service.
However, if the ambitious Shakes has his way then this total could soon rise drastically.
An expansion plan is in place to open a panel beating bay to increase the workshop’s volume of panel beating services, which is currently restricted due to space constraints.
Outlining his vast experience in the industry, Shakes revealed he worked at Capital BMW (now Capital Motors) for 16 years, where he eventually rose through the ranks to assume the role of BMW Quality Control Technician.
Before BMW, he worked at BB Motors as a Technician, a qualification he received after completing a National Craft Certificate in Auto Mechanics from Automotive Trade Testing (ATT) in 1989.
“After leaving work, I made a two-year plan to get my company registered, find a place to operate from and not sit idle,” shares Shakes, who adds that he was not certain of his future but sure of what he wanted to achieve.
“If things hadn’t turned around in the two years, I would have quit,” he reminisces.
Nearly nine years later and that uncertain future has become a prosperous present.
Shakes attributes his aptitude on all issues BMW to reading, keeping track of the latest models by attending the occasional car show and taking courses offered at BMW Midrand, South Africa – a place he regularly takes his technicians for training.
Today, one of Shakes’ aspirations is to dismantle the misconception that the workshop is only for men.
“I went to school with brilliant women who I wish worked here,” he recalls, adding that he is expecting a woman technician to report for duty soon and intends on hiring more.
At the moment, as well as four mechanics, Shakes also employs four apprentices, a secretary and an admin officer – who is also his wife.
Talking family, Shakes, who enjoys an occasional quad bike ride with his friends and children, attributes his success to his thoughtful and caring ‘better half’.
“I deal with people of different characters and problems and I appreciate that she understands this,” recognises the owner and founder of Aklet Auto and Parts gratefully.