A lesser woman might have been defeated by being chased out of her home by an abusive husband and left to fend for herself and ten children.
But when it comes to single-parenting, Mam Kholeka Radebe (50) is “Imbokodo” (a rock). She rolled up her sleeves and has been slowly building a stable life for her family. Five of her children are now adults with part-time jobs.
At the time she parted ways with her husband Radebe was living in Mt Zion, Eastern Cape. She moved back to her birthplace, Flagstaff, for a few years. In 2017, while working as a domestic worker to ensures that her son finished his tertiary education, she joined her first savings group. He eventually graduated and another four children are students. Radebe says one of her goals is to educate all her children.
Another goal has been to have a home where she can live safely with her family. She tells of how when she was abandoned by her husband she found herself living in other people’s households.
Radebe is a prime example of the thousands of women who, after acquiring access to the savings programme and financial tools provided by SaveAct, use them to improve their circumstances.
When she moved back to Mt Zion Radebe organised members of her community to form a savings group there and she is now a member of two groups. Although she no longer has the domestic work, she survives on child support grants and money raised by collecting and selling scrap metal. She also works as a volunteer at a centre for disabled children.
With the money she gets from the scrap yard, Radebe has been able to increase her saving to R250, or five shares, most months. Against all odds, she also managed to get a site to build a house on, despite her husband trying to influence the authorities to refuse her. With the assistance of her children she was given land and building preparations started in June 2020, with the making of mud bricks.
Last year she received a total share-out from her two groups of R7 665. This was mostly used to settle some off the loans taken from her savings group to pay for builders as well as other small household necessities.
A home of their own
The family moved into their new house in November 2020 after the roof, windows and doors were put in place. Although the building was not complete they were eager to occupy their own place after years of living in other people’s households.
Radebe says although there is still a lot to be done, this is her home, her dream. She has connected electricity and, with another share-out coming soon, she plans to complete her house and work towards erecting fencing, so that she can start farming.