Owing to ill health Mr Edwin Lifipha Sekhosana (62) left his job with a construction company in Johannesburg to return to his village of Ned, about 20 kilometres outside Matatiele. On his return in 2002 he tried to make a living out of building work within the community. The work was irregular and the family struggled to make ends meet, despite the social grants they received in respect of their children. Mr Sekhosana is married with seven children, the oldest of whom is 26 and the youngest is four. He also has a two-year-old granddaughter.
Mr Sekhosana joined a SaveAct-led savings group in 2011 after witnessing the benefits his wife was enjoying through her membership.
At the first annual share-out, his confidence in the system grew.
“I was able to see the outcome, and it helped me a lot as it also became a way of making a living because at the time I was unemployed and depended on my skills as a builder to earn an income”.
Other benefits he listed include being easily able to access his money and transparency within the group.
He said the financial education element of the model has helped him to plan for the future and be of assistance to others in his group and community.
Since joining SaveAct, he was able to borrow money to start a small broiler business. Through SaveAct, he received training about how to start with broilers, how to plan feeding, and general management of the enterprise. At the outset SaveAct assisted him to buy inputs such as day-old chicks, feed sufficient for six weeks, and vaccines. Since starting his business he has built a separate poultry house.
He has also invested in his food garden, planting potatoes, spinach, turnip and maize. Potatoes and maize are his best-selling produce, some which is reserved for household consumption.
His enterprise activities have enabled him to improve his living conditions and his livelihood. Mr Sekhosana was able to purchase a heifer in January 2016 for an upcoming traditional ceremony but when he discovered that the animal was expecting a calf he decided to keep it until it calved. In future he says he might buy more.
SaveAct involvement has increased the family income through savings and interest earned on those savings. However, the significant improvement has been as a result of the broiler business. In the next five years, Mr Sekhosana hopes to expand his poultry enterprise, and is seeking a reliable market or buyer. In addition to the financial benefits, he believes that his involvement in SaveAct has improved his status in the community. As a result of his work and achievements people see him as a leader and trusted member of the community.