Thapelo

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Thapelo Temana, 40

Married mother of three: 18, 13 & 8

Lives in Soweto, Johannesburg

I’m a businesswoman, I enjoy selling. Whatever I can sell I put my hands on, whatever can support my family - that’s what I’m doing.

There was a time when I was not working. I couldn’t provide for anything, even bread. When you can’t do things for yourself, people don’t regard you as somebody - you are nothing.

Before TCB I was a croupier at the casino. Whatever I was getting was going straight to food. I was earning on the 25th but on the 26th I was penniless, that was my life. It was miserable to go through the whole month without anything. I resigned because I couldn’t see the point of working. I started trying to sell things, like atchar and school uniforms, but I was not succeeding because I didn’t have any idea. I didn’t have the knowledge.

What inspires me is the way I see my life. This year my firstborn started studying. I managed to pay the school fees, all the books, to pay for residence, to pay the registration - by myself. I managed to take the other two kids to schools, they got books. I can provide for them.

It makes me happy to be independent, to know that I can do it for myself.