Here’s to being free!

by Mihle Mapoma
25 June 2024
25 June 2024

When Lindelwa Ndwalane joined SaveAct in 2021 she was in dire straits. “It was really bad. I was in debt. Actually, I was in liquidation,” she says. “It was an ugly time because I had no sense of needing to save or budget or anything like that. I didn’t have a plan. I’d get R1 000 and just spend it all frivolously. I’ve learnt so much from being a part of SaveAct. I’ve learned how to budget – like okay, if I want to do one and two, I have to budget; and start with the most important things.”

Ms. Ndwalane, who hails from Margate, says “I’m now all free!”, because she is now out of debt, and could focus on saving for other things. She started with mini renovations at home, using her 2022 share-out. “I changed the door, plastered the house, painted the roof and the house, I put aluminium in for the ceiling, and just many little things. Just doing things one step at a time.”

With her 2023 share-out, she had planned to completely redo the roof by putting tiles on instead. “It’s baby steps…but giant baby steps. I’ve come back with a vengeance. My life has changed. Actually, my whole family’s life has changed! They see the changes, and they’re very proud of our home. They see the difference and it’s big! My mom is also in a savings group, and we support each other,” says Ms. Ndwalane.

“SaveAct has helped me tremendously and given balance to my life. Little by little. Actually, not even little by little, it’s a lot a lot! I’m out of debt! I can see the progress for my house! I even keep an old picture of my house before I started, because I want a reminder of how far I’ve come.”

Training received from SaveAct taught Ms. Ndwalane about farming, poultry management and how to grow a business. She says she’s learnt more than she can talk about. “There’s just so much! I’ve gained a substantial amount of knowledge. Information I can take and use, or put away for another day when I need to pull from that knowledge.”

Ms. Ndwalane tried to start a business in 2020, but it did not go well. She was selling chickens and opened a little spaza shop that sold chips and ice cream. “I bought my own stuff but struggled and suffered financially,” she says. Knowledge gained from training helped her to see where she had gone wrong. “I made the mistake of not recordkeeping, and not withdrawing my own salary from the profit I used the money for food; and rather, I was feeding myself, instead of using the profit in a more conducive way,” she says.

Her biggest takeaway from agriculture-based training was learning how to save water. “Water is such a problem here! But then I remembered what they said at training about watering your garden using two-litre bottles and that has helped so very much! I’m annoyed at myself for learning this method so late because oh my goodness, now I no longer have a water problem!”

Ms. Ndwalane plans to start afresh with her next share-out and has done market research. “I have a solid plan now, and I hope it works out for me. I am going back to selling poultry, but I also have other ideas, and this time, I’m going big! I want to start selling cooked food, and I know that the food I want to sell is not available in this area. I already know exactly where I will get my ingredients as well. I know people will buy what I’m selling because I’ll be cooking it a different way than usual. We don’t sleep,” she laughs.

She shares that her biggest passion within her business endeavours, is poultry. “I always Google the latest research and I’ve studied all about it. Especially traditional chickens, I’m quite knowledgeable about all that. I talk to them and treat them like people. I also teach others in my community what I have learned about traditional chickens. They sell at varied prices, depending on the colour of the chicken.”

She sells each chicken for R200-R300. The traditional chickens, used specifically for traditional or cultural ceremonies, sell better than non-traditional chickens. “I’m glad they sell well because they’re quite expensive to maintain. Their medication is very expensive, but it’s needed. People also pass by here and see how well they’re growing, so it’s also inspiring for others. I currently have 25 chickens. I open for them in the morning and let them go around the community, and just mingle around with the world and other chickens. They come back by themselves because they know this is home, and where they get taken care of well.”

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