Proving that Zodwa Wabantu’s ferocious knack for hustling knows no bounds, the socialite has started a new poultry business earlier this year.
Instead of wallowing in the uncertainty of the local entertainment industry’s future, the dancer instead looked to agriculture, starting a business selling eggs and live chicken she now calls Zodwa Wabantu Eggs.
The agripreneur, who also launched a perfume brand in 2019, purchased her chickens from a farm in Gauteng where they are still kept and housed until she can acquire land of her own. Food For Mzansi caught up with the aspiring poultry queen.
Noluthando Ngcakani: Zodwa, I think it is safe to say the nation was stunned when you revealed your new poultry business. What was the inspiration behind your new venture?
Zodwa Wabantu: Money, money, money! There was no inspiration, it was just money and the love I have for what I do. I hustle.
You know that Food For Mzansi doesn’t miss a beat… From casually stalking your Instagram page, we can see that the eggs are flying off the shelves. How did you manage to start your business?
I have a name, so I am selling my name. I cannot stay at home while I have a big name. It was not planned at all. There was no budget. I did my research of the markets, and compared prices.
You see, people think that they know me, and they don’t know me. Me, I reinvent myself while you are still complaining about me saying “Oh, she’s ugly” or “Oh, she is naked now”. Then, boom, I do something else and leave everyone shocked.
Dancer, socialite and perfume brand owner. Have you ever thought that you would become a farmer?
I never thought I would be here. There was no planning when I made this move. I did not even think much about selling eggs or chickens. It happened that I was visiting many farms and looked at how they did it. That was it. I made the decision that I was not going to go hungry. I will hustle.
I am sure that there have been a lot of criticism flung your way. What kind of challenges have you experienced on your agricultural journey?
Can you imagine, the SPCA called me and said I am selling chickens in an inhumane environment? I asked them where is this inhumane environment where I sell my chickens? Where did they even see my chickens?
I have not even moved them from where I keep them. You know mos eKasi i’chicken zi’dice’we kanjani? (“how chicken is sold in the township”). It is normal.
I swore at this lady. She informed me that she received numerous anonymous calls from people. Then I asked if she didn’t think there were people who (were trying) to sabotage me? Those could be people who are close to me or are jealous of me. There are people that we work with who do not have our best interests (at heart). You never know, so you cannot tell me that sh*t.
I caught her out when I asked if she saw me selling the chickens in an inhumane place.
Then she said she would like to visit, and I responded and asked again how she knew I was selling these chickens in an incorrect matter. Did she see me sell them in an inhuman place?
Clearly, she knows where I keep them because this is the first time I am even hearing that I sell chickens in inhumane conditions. Even those people who are reporting me, they must tell you where I keep them. Then she asked for my email, still today there is no email.
In any business, you come across problems or challenges. People want you to be stuck or go back to your old ways, but I know I am going forward.
Do you have any advice for your fellow Mzansi farmers?
Women especially, I love them. They must do something. You have a mind, you have hands; it is not a big deal to start. Just start. If you are going to wait for money you will not start. If you are going to keep saying I need R80 000 for capital, you won’t start.
Start with whatever you have as long as you discipline yourself and cut down on things that you love. If you love clothes, stop buying clothes.
I wanted a Mercedes-Benz by January (this year) or December last year, but after the lockdown was announced I used the money to start my business.
My plans did not involve a business; I wanted a new car, but I can’t have a new car while I don’t have the income that I know that I am used to. Like my entertainment income, we make a lot of money.
After the announcement, I knew there would be no new car and started something that keeps me busy. Something that builds my brand and keeps me relevant.
To women, especially, do not calculate things that you do not know. How will you know you are going to fail while you did not even try?
There is always this fear of how you are going to start. People are always scared. Who said you are going to fail? Who?!
People must always keep the faith and tell themselves that they are going to make it. They must be positive. There is no formula in life. You must just do it.