Equipnet trading as Tents for Africa was establish in 1995 in Tweespruit, a small farming town on the outskirts of Bloemfontein in the Easter Free State Province of South Africa. The company was originally started to manufacture mainly Cargo Nets, as there was a huge demand for this product at the time. It rapidly expanded into manufacturing.
Tents for Africa began with the owner, Graham Wansbury, doing most of the work himself in his little Nissan 14 hundred bakkie. Soon the reputation of his high quality products spread and there were many requests for him to design and produce other products such as Pool Nets, Pool Covers and Truck Tarpaulins, so true to Graham’s reputation, he produced the best durable products in order to meet his client’s needs.
A few years later clients began to request that he start making tents for funerals. Graham visited Funeral Parlours to research the requirements for the funeral industry market. His research was very positive so he immediately started to design and manufacture various sized tents for this market. The main concern was to create a water proof tent to accommodate funerals in the rainy season. He designed his first tent to be 10m x 5m and decided to make it from the same material as the swimming pool covers as this was strong, durable, washable and waterproof.
In 1996 Tents for Africa had outgrown the factory space in Tweespruit so Graham moved to a larger factory at number 46 Gold Street in the Bloemdustria area in Bloemfontein. It was here that he started to receive requests to hire tents, so a few months later he started a hiring department to hire out funeral tents to local area. Soon his tents were being hired not only for funerals but for parties and various functions. He recognised the rapid need for larger tents for large functions and immediately designed a series of different size tents ranging from 3m x 3m all the way up to 21m x 145m.
Tents for Africa expanded and soon became recognised by other countries via their website and other advertising such as the yellow pages telephone directory, hand out flyers and billboards. The hiring department grew so large that it required its own premises and factory.
In 2010 there was a large request for Graham to supply portable flooring for the inside of the tents for hire. He started to provide wooden flooring for clients that wanted to hire flooring with the tents, later he developed a light weight, durable, ventilated flooring which accommodated sport’s fields as it did not damage the grass below. This flooring has become very popular over the years as it is not only environmentally friendly but looks very good too.
In the beginning of 2011 one of his largest clients requested that he start producing freestanding tents. Graham’s research stretched all the way to China where he received a letter of invitation to visit a company who produced freestanding tents there. He was not satisfied with their structure design and quality of materials. He then traveled to Germany to meet one of the top suppliers of freestanding tents in the world. He was very impressed with their quality and ordered a 25m x 50m Freestanding Losberger tent with glass doors and glass panels, and another smaller sized one 15m x 30m to accommodate smaller functions.
The year 2012 the one 25m x 50m Freestanding Losberger Tent was not sufficient to serve all the hiring orders so he purchased another 25m x 50m Freestanding Losberger Tent. There is now a total collection of a 20m x 100m, a 25m x 100m and a 30m x 100m Freestanding Losberger Tents available for hire.
The need for air conditioning inside of the tents in summer and winter was recognised so 30 000 to 60 000 BTU Air conditioning units were added to the hiring department. These units are powered by two generators, one 110KVA and one 185KVA. Two forklifts were bought to assist in moving these units and to assist in assembling and disassembling tents on site. Tents for Africa also supply numerous other equipment for hire such as tables, chairs, portable toilets and even a stage.
Graham is proud to announce that the fleet for Tents For Africa has increased to not only include a Nissan 14 hundred bakkie but an Isuzu bakkie, a Nissan NP400 truck , an Isuzu 900 truck with a trailer, a Scania Super link and an Argosy Truck Freightliner. These trucks make transporting products all around the world, easier, faster and efficiently.