A business of perseverance

2018-04-05 06:03
Lulama Mdudo (21) with Linomtha Jelwana (27), who runs a fruit and vegetable stand in Pholile Informal Settlement.PHOTO: velani ludidi

Lulama Mdudo (21) with Linomtha Jelwana (27), who runs a fruit and vegetable stand in Pholile Informal Settlement.PHOTO: velani ludidi

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Linomtha Jelwana (27) from Pholile Informal Settlement could not stand working for someone after completing her schooling.

She decided to start her own fruit and vegetable stand, just to be her own boss!

Jelwana told City Vision she started her business in June last year and has been going strong since then.

“I worked for a chicken company and I did not like the idea of working for someone any longer,” she pointed out.

At the time she started the business, there were no fruit and vegetable stores and people had to walk far to buy.

“To me, it was not only about starting a business but bringing a service to the people.

“These are people who had to walk long distances just buy an onion or a tomato something. This was something we used to do daily.”

After opening her business she says people continued ignoring her and to buy from those faraway businesses.

“People would pass me and come back carrying the things I sell here. But I did not question that as I was still new and people do not easily adapt to change,” she says.

In three months time she felt that her business was failing because people still chose to go to faraway places than her but she carried on.

Her nephew Lulama Mdudo (21), who lives in Khayelitsha, comes every weekend to help her run the stand.

He says he learns a lot from helping his aunt.

“I learn to communicate with people better and improve my business skills,” he said. “People come here, some not in a good mood, and I always try not to add more burdens but to brighten their day.”

Jelwana allows people to take stuff on credit and pay them later.

“There is high unemployment rate here, and most people depend on social grants. I could not allow people to go to bed hungry because they do not have money,” says the warm-hearted Jelwana.

She advises other people who would like to open a business like hers not to be too hasty in making money.

“Planning and saving are important,” she points out, “but treat people well because they are the reason you go to bed on a full stomach.”

Neighbour Zolani Manqindi says Jelwana’s business is a blessing.

“We can take what we need on credit and most shops do not allow that,” she says. “She is very friendly and helps us more than we help her.”

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