BBL PARTICIPANT: Elisa Nteo, Rankelenyane, Northwest Province
In a Nutshell
Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Elisa Nteo from Rankelenyane in the Northwest Province has gained personal and business confidence that she is using to create a better, brighter future for herself and her baby daughter. She has clear plans for her future and understands the power of her independence.
I was born in Bothaville in the Free State, and I came here in 2018. My first experiences in the Northwest were not good - I got caught up in a scam that promised jobs. That was a very bad time, but I survived. I became strong. Over time I have built myself a new life and now, in 2023, I am glad to be here.
I own my home which is opposite the school and also at a crossroads. The position means that it is an ideal location for business. I can attract students, parents, teachers, and other people passing by. I plan to make this place the start of my business career. I already have a tuck shop (selling cigarettes and drinks and snacks), two rooms to rent, a chicken coop with hardbody broiler birds, pigs and a vegetable patch with a tunnel from SocioTech. That tunnel arrived three months ago and has been a big help – before the mice were eating from my crops – the most recent harvest of cabbages, spinach, mustard greens, and carrots was plentiful because I was free from attacking mice.
"Don’t just dream when you should be getting to work.."
I am planning to start a car wash, a shisa nyama and a salon for hair and nails soon. My idea is that this place can be like a one-stop shop where someone like a teacher will be able to arrive to have her hair done and while that is happening, she can also wash her car and eat at the shisa nyama.
When it comes to business, I believe that you must just start. Don’t wait and be depressed or shy. Start small with what you have and gradually the business will grow. Talking to Charles from SocioTech helped me see that setting goals and making plans for the future is essential.
Dreams can get lost, but a plan that is written down and followed is powerful. He showed me to have a budget and stick to it. Save a little every day and over time all those efforts come together. Don’t just dream when you should be getting to work.
Charles also made me understand that I am my daughter’s role model. If I am strong and purposeful then she will learn to be those things too. I must set the example of what a good life looks like. I must spend time with her, reading, singing, and drawing and playing. I must make sure that she eats a balanced diet. She is a good little girl and eats everything I give her, so it is up to me to follow The Food Robot. If she eats healthy food that is because I gave it to her. If she eats unhealthy food that is also because of me.
I must insist that she respects herself and treats other people with respect. She must stand up for herself and learn to be independent. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to depend on others. You won’t suffer if you plough your own garden.
These are all skills and strengths that will benefit her throughout her life. I didn’t have those things when I was growing up and they made my life difficult. I had to learn those things the hard way but now that I know I can teach her. I can be the parent that I never had.
My daughter is what inspires my business. If I make my plans into a reality, then I can make sure that her life is easier than mine. She deserves good quality education in a private school but that costs money. If I put in the time and effort now, I can make that private school dream happen for her. I want her to be proud of me and be able to be in that private school uniform thinking ‘mummy started from here and did all this.”