Finding employment in South Africa is a difficult task but it is even more strenuous for people living with disabilities. One person who knows this all too well is Khayelitsha’s Zoliswa Mzana who has been job hunting for five years. Mzana, 29, is deaf which makes it very difficult for her to communicate with hearing individuals and thus struggled to get work. This year in March she received a job at Shoprite Makhaza where she started as a packer and is now a butchery assistant. This is no small feat as it is estimated that there are more than 500 000 deaf people in the country with 70% of them being unemployed. Mzana is one of the 550 deaf and hard-of-hearing people countrywide employed by the Shoprite Group after she successfully completed the NQF Level 2 Wholesale and Retail Chain Store Operation qualification. As part of bringing awareness to the struggles faced by the deaf to find employment City Vision visited Mzana at her workplace where she detailed her struggles to find work. “Finding a job is tough because people do not have the patience and some actually don’t believe that a deaf person can actually work. When I started here there were people, colleagues and customers, that welcomed me but others took time to understand,” she said. She said that she started out as a packer but through her good relation and support of the manager she was trained in other duties with in the grocery store. “I have learn a lot and I almost work in every department and I have a very good relationship with my co-workers,” she said. She said that her journey into finding employment began when a friend referred her to eDeaf, an organisation in Bellville, which assist the deaf with learnership and personal development. This is not something that she even dreamt of as her struggles prevented her from even imagining herself in the workplace. “Because it was even difficult to further my studies after high school I didn’t even dream of any career. Even now I just want to work for my daughter and provide for her,” she said speaking of her 11 year old daughter Tina. “My message to my customers is that they must have a little more patients and to the community must be more respectful of people with disabilities,” she said. She said she really enjoys work as it is something she has been looking up to.