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Nozuko Mtoto, 35

Single mother of one: 11

Lives in Langa, Cape Town

didn’t grow up easily. I was with my grandmother. Sometimes we didn’t have food to eat, but she always said I must stay strong, that everything will pass. She taught me to be independent, now I can do my own things.

I am working for my child to motivate her. I go out and smile and sell my clothes. I don’t want her to grow up like me. I’m working hard and saving to have my own place to stay.

People don’t know my problems, and I don’t want them to know I’m sad. They see me smiling, laughing all the time. When I’m alone maybe it comes back. I’d like to tell people that even when they’re feeling down, they must wake up and dress, put a smile on the face and go out.

To dress beautifully works for me because every time they say, ‘Oh, you look beautiful’, that makes me feel good. My customers always want the same things I’m wearing, so I don’t sell something I’m not going to wear.

My dream is to continue with my business and look for other opportunities. I am a businesswoman, I want to see me to go further.