Submitted by: Kyrah Tyrer

We have the most inspiring lady who works for us. Her name is Zama and she is too wonderful for words. She helps us look after our boys and is part of our family.

Zama has 3 children – a son and 2 little girls. 4 years ago she married a good man, the father of her 3 children. Less than a year later he was tragically killed in a car accident, leaving her a widow and her children fatherless. 

Zama is an entrepreneur if ever I knew one (I know many but quite honestly she trumps them all.

She has built herself a home with her very own hands (she has actually lost most of her fingernails from building and getting her fingers crushed between bricks)

She helps us look after our boys and is part of our family.

With every bit of extra money she has she builds rooms to rent out! WHAT! She has single-handedly built 6 extra rooms that she rents out. When she received her Christmas bonus the first thing she said was “I’m going to buy bricks tomorrow to build more rooms”

  • She plants veggies and sells them
  • She wakes up every morning at 3am to make vetkoek and cupcakes and sells them in the taxi on the way to work
  • She’s also a lowkey loan shark and lends people money for a fee that gives her more interest than the bank would 
  • On top of that she helps look after our children, she cleans our home and cooks lunch for Chad if I’m out at work

We know that her children have only ever gone to the beach once and looked at the ocean from the school bus. Basically, they have never really gone to the beach.

We were gifted with a beach holiday and we desperately wanted Zama and her children to join us. I called the resort to check on our Chalet size – it was too small for an extra 4 guests and they didn’t allow extra occupants in our chalet even at a fee. I couldn’t sleep that night. There was no way I was going to go to the beach without Zama and her children. I looked online for the price of an extra Chalet – it was very steep! 

The next morning I told Zama that we wanted to take her family to the beach and we wanted to book a chalet for them but she had to help me hustle. We went through our cupboards and decided to sell anything Chad and I hadn’t worn in a good couple of months. Easy game. Breastfeeding bras R10 a pop, Tops R20 a pop, Pants & Jackets R30 a pop. 

 By that afternoon we had sold enough clothes to pay for the extra chalet. YES! Anyway, this isn’t the point of the story and this is NOT about what we’ve done, it’s about what I’m about to say. 

Zama’s children are SO excited to go to the beach. They can hardly contain themselves! Today Zama arrived with this jar full of money.

“This is from Zee & Fi. They baked and sold cupcakes the whole weekend to save up for the beach. They want to buy Elijah a toy Ghanda (Tractor – his absolute FAV), and they want to have pocket money for the holiday. Please keep it here for them because they don’t want it to go missing”

We count the money – R435

“Zama how much do they sell a cupcake for”

“R1 each”

“So they baked and sold over 400 cupcakes?”

“Yes and they’re baking and selling more this week to save up”

“Zama have you done your costing? How much does it cost to make these?”

“Yes, it costs a bit less than R50 to make 200 cupcakes”

“So you make R300 profit off every R100 spent!”

(PS I’m reconsidering my career after hearing of these profit margins)

Zama’s children are SO excited to go to the beach.

How many of us sit and complain about what we earn? A 7 and 10-year-old girl made and sold over 400 cupcakes in 1 weekend just so that they can show their gratitude by buying our son a toy tractor!!!

Zama inspires me in so many ways. If I could be half the mom that she is, half the entrepreneur that she is, and have half the determination and joy that she has, I will have honestly made it in life. 

I read something recently that said “I am somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops”

Privilege is this – that you and I, with a lower EQ, IQ, and SQ, who work half as hard as Zama, live more privileged lives than she does. If we were all given the same education, upbringing, and circumstances in life, I wonder how the playing fields would work out. We NEED to realise how privileged we are and we need to realise that someone’s standing in life, whether super wealthy or not, isn’t a representation of their heart and character. Some of our closest friends are wealthy and some of our closest friends live in shacks. 

I am challenged daily to see beyond privilege – both those with much and with little – and seek out the heart of a person irrespective of where they come from. We can all be inspired and we can all inspire others 

Update: Yesterday the girls baked and sold another 132 cupcakes after school and sent the money to add to their jar this morning (Tuesday 3 March). We have also now decided to set up a Backabuddy account to help Zama and her children set up their very own cupcake shop. 

Edited by: Justine Bishop

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