Making money is easy, thinking about how to make money is the hard part. We all grew up telling ourselves that one day we all
want to be rich business people but the reality is not many of us even come remotely close to that dream. A lot of people blame the government for that and argue that we have a poor education system which does not facilitate for us to become business minded eventually making us own businesses. To some extent but a lesser extent though I do agree with this however on the larger part I say the problem with us black South Africans is pride and a lack of common sense. We are play the victim game so well whilst we sit on our hands and do nothing. Why is it foreign people come to South Africa and are able to build their small businesses from scratch in a country they can’t even get funding from? Why is it they can sustain these small businesses? Do you think Mugabe is teaching them how to be business people or in Malawi or Mozambique there is a special subject called “go take South African small businesses”? Of course not! Its hunger and desire that makes these people open tuck shops on every corner of the township whilst all South Africans do is complain and blame the government for not doing more for them. We are a bunch of spoilt brats in possibly the only African country that allows for such to happen.
“I take it that was your sister but I will ask later!”
Miriam said to me when I dropped the phone.
I responded but did not say more.
“Ok cool. I want to know how it is that you want us to open a business. Do you know how difficult it is to open a company? I don’t have the time for that!”
She said going back to my proposal that we should try get into the hair game. There is a genuine belief by many people that opening a company is hard which is why when most people open one they believe it’s an achievement. Opening a company today feels for black people today what getting a drivers license felt like back in the day! As soon as they get that company however they stop because for some reason they think it will miraculously make money and oh don’t forget, it will automatically get tenders!
The real reason why black South Africa failed so spectacularly at the business game and it’s not even because of corruption but because it taught the so called intellects that they did not have to be innovative and come up with brand new entrepreneurial ideas as tenders had it all laid out for them.
“Don’t worry about opening the company. I will work on that for us. I can get us a registered company in a day, that’s if I want to buy a shelf company but that would be expensive and besides we are in no rush!”
I explained to her.
“See what I said when I said it’s too hard now you saying it’s too expensive!”
She said frowning.
“How is getting a company in 24 hours difficult wena Miriam? By expensive I mean it’s about r2000 to get a shelf company!”
I said to her a bit annoyed at her defeatist mentality or approach to all this.
“Oh that’s not too bad, I can afford r2000, will ask Bongani and then we can open it tomorrow and start!”
She said cheerfully. I think that number made sense to her because the mood changed.
“No! We are not buying a shelf company!”
I told her.
“Why the hell not? It’s cheap and it’s immediate!”
She asked as I had obviously confused her. We were almost back in her neighbourhood at this stage but the traffic was slow moving.
“We are going for a cheaper option where we can open the same company for less than r500. It will take us about a month to get everything done but trust me it’s worth it!”
I said to her but she was totally confused at this stage.
“I don’t understand! Don’t you want to start this now?”
She asked. I did not want to sound condescending as I explained to her because Miriam hated being made to look or sound dumb.
“Ok any successful business needs research and that includes a business where you think you know everything. I suggest we do a business proposal for ourselves to see if we can fund and sustain this!”
I explained to her but I was losing her. She was losing interest ah.
“A business proposal? That sounds like a lot of work and just to do hair? Come on Lungi we not trying to open an accounting firm here we are selling hair!”
She protested and again I kind of get where was coming from. I did not reprimand her though.
“Ok let me say it like this then, picture this hair business right your business proposal in your market analysis should be able to tell you how much hair you will need to start with, how often you should buy it, at what’s cost to make a competitive profit as well as who your market is. Do not assume you will always have people buying and imagine if you place your hair shop, that’s if you even decide on a shop? Where would you place that shop? Will people be able to access it? These are all questions you need answers for before you start the business because if you don’t you will struggle going forward!”
I explained. I had intended to be as brief as possible but I guess I got carried away in trying to explain. Miriam looked blank at this stage and I feared I had lost her.
“Ok fine but will we have business cards? I have always wanted to have a business card!”
She said and we laughed.
“Ok on a serious tip I think I am interested in doing this. We will do the business plan together right not just you! I know you get excited and want to do all the writing alone!”
She said and she was not kidding either. Back in the day when we got group assignments at school I was always paired with her because we were neighbours. I would get frustrated with her playfulness I would end up doing the work for both of us alone. She used to love that actually I guess now she was more responsible.
“And we will be 50\50 partners right?”
She asked me.
“Of course we will be 50\50 if this going to work!”
I told her. This 50\50 concept sounds so simple on paper but in reality it’s so difficult o enforce in business terms if the partners do not put in the same amount of work.
“We are here!”
Miriam announced when we arrived. I had actually not seen that we had travelled that fast as the conversation had flowed rather nicely.
“Indeed we have but I can’t stay hey I have to go!”
I told Miriam as she drove into the garage.
“Why do you have to go though? You can sleep here tonight because I don’t think it’s safe to go home tonight and besides you have never slept in my house!”
She begged me to stay by trying to make me feel guilty for her never inviting me in the first place!”
“I would love to my dear but that message was from my sister and she says I have to come to the house she dug out that Will. My mother mara!”
I said to her thinking of how she had actually found time to dig up a hole to hide something!
“I miss her you know! She used to shout at me every time I did something wrong and my mother loved sending me to her for disciplining!”
She said and we both laughed. It was funny how Miriam and I had grown up as though we were sisters. Our mothers were mutual and often we got in trouble together largely because of her. My sister on the hand did not really hang out with us even though we had a big group of friends on the street.
“I miss her too hey. I still can’t believe she is gone. It’s like one minute she was here then the next she was gone!”
I said to her as the tears were already stinging on my eyes. I wanted to cry but I still had to drive but that was not going to help me in any way!
“We should go visit her this weekend!”
Miriam suggested and she was thinking on the same wave length as me. I wanted to go visit my mother’s grave.
“Yes we should. I have to go.”
I told her getting into my car already. My day had been long and I still had not celebrated that Sms I had received. I have to be the only person in the world that received millions and not been over excited. That’s what jealousy and envy does to you, it makes you a bitter person towards yourself!
I was ashamed.
I should be happy for Miriam not be jealous of her.
I drove out and got onto the road. I was still thinking about this hair business when I got a call from Simba! Goodness I had forgotten about him.
I said to him as I joined the highway.
“Hi! Are you available for dinner tonight?”
He asked me.
“I should be but right now I am on my way to my mother’s house!”
I told him.
“Ok that’s fine but please dinner at my place. I am going to cook for you and discuss that job offer I made you!”
He said sounding rather pleased with himself.
“Ok sounds awesome then what time should I be there ideally?”
I asked him.
“Let’s say 7pm!”
He said. I agreed to it but I was not sure about the time. I still to go home and get clothes. Did I even want to go home? My sister was slight bigger than me I don’t fit her clothes.
“You took your time!”
My sister said annoyed when I entered the house. She must have been waiting for me because she was practically standing at the door, arms crossed when I drove in.
“And then? Yini nkinga yakho?”
I asked her because she was behaving funny!
“Read this, see what your mother did! Read the part I underlined!”
She said thrusting a piece of paper into my face. She was genuinely anxious and looked as though she was about to burst into tears. I read the part she underlined.
“I have instructed my lawyer that if I die he must sell the house and the money must be given to the church. There is a condition to prevent this and that is Lungi getting married within 12months of my death. Your sister is married already so she has a house. Contact my lawyer on 083….. For more of my wishes!”
I wanted to laugh but I could not as this was so typical my mother. She had wanted me to get married so badly she even left it in a Will.
“Dude you need to get married because I don’t want to be homeless!”
My sister said clearly panicked.
Yup, my mother had not foreseen that at her death my sister would be getting divorced.
“Stop panicking, the letter Miriam gave us supersedes the Will at this stage as it came later!”
I reassured her.
“Yeah it would if I had not lost it this morning in the taxi!”
I was lost!
“You lost it?”
I asked her.
“I was mugged ok! I even went to the police station!”
She told me. She had not told me all this earlier that’s for sure!
The bad luck was only just getting started!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I am so glad I finally got the guts to write to you. Hope you are well and the readers.
I am 37 and I have been married for 13 years now. I have two kids with my husband but the last five years have been hell. My husband worked in a mine and was shot during a strike which left him paralysed. He was shot by mine security in an accident and the mine paid millions to him or us as compensation. It was a tough time to see a man strong and proud like him wither away as self pity set in. I took him to psychologists etc but he was either unwilling or too far gone to care. His injury left him unable to have sex and he pees through a tube. It is not nice at all. With the money we bought a house and with his permission I opened a business for us which is successful. The problem is for 5 years I have not had sex and I miss it so much. It’s not my husband’s fault at all I know but he has made it clear if I sleep with anyone else it’s a betrayal. I have been faithful and I have every toy you can imagine but I miss the real thing. Lately I dream about sex so often it’s become noticeable and guess what, he thinks I am cheating. He wants to go through my phone every night and I am not allowed to put on vibrate or on silent when I am at home. I love him but I am not sure what to do about this? Am I being selfish? Is he being selfish? What should I do because I really need to get laid before menopause!