“No good waiting for a husband to provide …”

“It is no good waiting for husbands to provide money. We women must find ways to make our own money…”

Edith Dabulamanzi

“It is no good waiting for husbands to provide money. We women must find ways to make our own money. I sell chickens which I raise from day old chicks. I buy in chicken heads and feet which I braai and sell along with the traditional beer that I brew. I also grind peanuts to make peanut butter. That is a good earner, that peanut butter,” says Edith Dabulamanzi of Majakaneng.

Edith is part of SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies programme which seeks to stimulate personal economic activity. The BBL starts by enabling people living in poverty to address their most basic need for food and then empowers them with the skills to become economically independent, small business owners.

Anna Trapido interviewed Edith in her home in Majakaneng.

“Before I did the My Future training with SocioTech I didn’t understand how money works. If I sold, I would take my money and send it home to Zimbabwe or buy clothes or just eat it away without thinking about it. No budget. No banks. Nothing. Now I know that when I sell I must write down the transaction. I must calculate profits. Managing the business is important or you won’t see profits. If you want to grow your business you need to see things clearly and be organized. I started with 10 chickens and it has grown over time. When it was my turn to be paid out by the stokvel I belong to I got my husband to build me a chicken house.

“When you start doing those sums and you see the way money works, you can start to see patterns in your business. You can start to understand the way different sorts of selling can work together to provide household income. For instance, I know that if this chicken takes 4 weeks to rear I will only see my profit after 1 month. One month can feel very far away when you need money now. Rearing chickens is a long game so, I also have a business that can bring in money every day. That business involves buying in chicken heads and feet and braaing them to sell with the traditional beer that I brew. I sell the heads for 50C and the feet for R1. That is a good business where, every day before I sleep I can see the money and calculate the profits.

“It is all about understanding your market. In this community a lot of people are very poor. Especially at this time of year – in January no one has money. Even during the rest of the year not everyone has money to buy a whole chicken. If you have items for sale that cost 50 cents then you can sell to the customers as they are and not as you wish they were. It works well. I sell 2 packets of 120 heads every day.

Edith’s peanut butter process.

“I also make peanut butter. I have been doing this since I was a very young girl in Karoi, Zimbabwe. When I was little we used a traditional grinding stone and everything was done by hand but now, since I have savings from my chicken business, I have bought an electric peanut grinding machine. I roast the nuts and then grind so that they get a lovely flavour. My peanut butter is delicious (especially if you put it into porridge or cook it with morogo) and it is healthy too – no additives, no sugar and not too much salt. It is rich and lovely not like the stuff you buy in the shop. There is a demand for it. Sometimes people bring me the peanuts and I charge a fee to grind for them.

“None of it is easy. Chickens especially can cause you lots of worry. Sometimes I cry and I tell myself that I can’t do this anymore but then I sleep and when I wake up I stand up and get on with my job again. Like I said, it is no good sitting around waiting for husbands to give you money. My husband is happy because we work as a team to make money for our family.”

Contact Edith on 060 589 3535.