From having nothing to owning 2 stalls, 1 shop, 2 rental properties and an outreach programme for girls 

Vuyokazi Majali: A Taking Care of Business (TCB) Success Story 

Kraaifontein, 45 years old, mother of 2 

When you're at the bottom, you can only go up

I have 2 children and 2 grandchildren, and my parents are pensioners – they all depend on me. I was working at an insurance company but lost my job, and being older, I struggled to find work again. I was unemployed for two years and couldn’t provide for my family.  

Life was difficult. I was staying alone in Cape Town, and my kids were staying in Johannesburg because I couldn’t provide for them – I couldn’t even provide for myself. 

I lost my dignity, and my kids lost their trust in me because whenever they asked me for something I couldn’t give it to them. I felt like I lost their love. I lost the respect of my community too because I had to ask my neighbours for things and I had to take credit at shops and from loan sharks to get by. 

I learnt exactly how many slices of bread was in half a loaf of bread… I needed to divide the half a loaf for the day. Living off a few slices of bread for breakfast, lunch and supper. I had a little bit of sunlight soap which I used to bath with and use as toothpaste. Then, eventually, I went 2 days without bathing. When I didn’t have toiletries then I knew it was getting worse.  

It was meant to be

One day I got a R5 for airtime and logged onto Facebook – then I saw it, a TCB post advertising their Resell Programme Open Day. I had no food, no money, no way to get to the Paarl Open Day. Luckily at the train station, someone kindly gave me money to travel, and I made it. Even the security guard at the TCB office park helped me with some money to go back home afterwards.  

It was meant to be.  

On my first purchase at TCB I bought shirts to give to those who helped me that day, as a way to say thank you. I always say “When something is yours, it’s yours. And TCB is for me.” 

Holistic healing for a better self and business

Before joining TCB I was a very shy and angry person because of my upbringing. My self-esteem was very low because I couldn’t afford to pay for anything. Through the programme at TCB I learnt to face and manage my anger. I had a lot of debt, and I was taught how to save and pay my debts. Mentoring and coaching classes helped me so much! TCB helped me understand myself.  

Even after the first 2 months of being at TCB I could see the difference in my life. I was able to afford food and new clothes and give money to my children. I started gaining respect in the community.  

My attitude towards life has changed positively, my self-esteem has been boosted and restored and my potential has been unleashed. My children and my community trust me again.  

People who are in TCB learn a lot, from discipline to consistency which all leads to their businesses growing and most importantly they have positive attitudes and teamwork skills. We learn how to adapt to all customer situations and become financially independent.  

I have a stall in a busy street in Wallacedene where people take taxis as well as a shop in my house. There is a lot of competition, but I am confident in my business – I make sure I stand out and take pride in my display and packaging. Thanks to the retail partners of TCB who donate the clothing and homeware – I have good products to sell and can remain competitive in the market. 

Paying it forward

I am very grateful to TCB. My business has grown. I now have 2 stalls; I also have a shop in my house. My business is registered and is named V&M Boutique. My business is getting there. I know how to save, keep my books and always budget before I spend – I never do credit anymore. 

When I didn’t have toiletries, I felt so terrible. You cannot live without toiletries. Now since being at TCB I have a programme, every month I put away R500 where I buy sanitary pads, toiletries, toothpaste and roll-on for the girl children. I make packages and give them away at my stalls to girls that need them.  

A future full of possibility

Being self-employed comes with challenges. Having a positive attitude will help you to overcome every challenge that you have. Discipline, consistency, patience, be a team worker and what you have will grow.  

My goal is to invest in property to leave a legacy for my children. 

I’ve healed a lot, I’ve gained a lot and I’ve changed positively in my attitude to business and life in general. I am very grateful for being part of TCB. When you are at TCB you’ve got gold in your hands.  

Watch Vuyokazi’s inspiring video

Taking Care of Business (TCB) is a nonprofit social enterprise. We are empowering unemployed South Africans and their families to escape the cycle of poverty through small business opportunities, mostly within the circular economy.