Grandmother inspires women to start in business

Octogenarian businesswoman Theresa Chisveta of Gutu Mupandawana in Masvingo province, has called on women to shrug off the tag of second-class citizenship tag and play their part in the country’s economic development. NELSON SIBANDA met the inspirational woman who has a message for all Zimbabweans.

Octogenarian businesswoman, Theresa Chisveta.
Octogenarian businesswoman, Theresa Chisveta.

Chisveta, an established maize dealer and chicken and cattle farmer, says women should be innovative and hone their business acumen if they aspire to live economically sound and self-sufficient lives.

She urged women facing capital challenges to start businesses in a small way, such as rearing runner chickens for sale.

Hers is an inspiring rags to riches story.

Chisveta, who attributes her success to hard work, principles and a burning desire to achieve, says there are many ways in which marginalised women can improve themselves.

Take chickens, she says – a business that creates its own growth because the hens lay eggs, which can be hatched to expand the flock.

“All that’s needed is determination and poultry management skills. To help complement the project, I’d advise women to diversify into other income generating activities such as crocheting and knitting,” she says.

Chisveta has mentored dozens of women from neighbouring communities, and started her own work as a small-scale cross border trader, selling crochet and knitting products in Botswana and South Africa during her active years. She invested back into the project, bought a residential stand at Mupandawana Growth Point and built a beautiful house.

She recommends runner chickens because they are resistant to diseases and cost little to feed.

Grain and cattle dealing is another area of business for the 86-year-old. She regularly buys maize and cattle for sale, going around the villages buying tonnes of maize grain for storage before disposing of it at a higher price.

With cattle, she buys then feeds the animals for a few weeks before selling on to individual buyers or butcheries.

She says there is everything to gain from a buying and selling business because capital can be safely stored in asset form with the potential to multiply.

She attributes her physical fitness to a balanced diet and regular exercise. She walks normally without the aid of the walking stick and has no worries in navigating the busy city.

“I work the fields and enjoy short walks to keep my body in good shape. My daily meals start with jungle oats and coffee early morning. Lunch is mostly sadza and meat stew, vegetables and boiled fish. I don’t eat fried foods,” says Chisveta, who also loves to eat wild fruits.

To ensure her legacy, Chisveta has mentored her seventh born son, Pinnel Machekera, and some neighbours in small project management. Not everyone is open to learning from her, though, and some have scoffed at her initiatives. Her son, though, is certain that by applying her same principles and acquiring skills, others can share her success.

Local women like Susan Nhema of Mupandawana is grateful for Chisveta’s mentorship. She has gone on to become a successful chicken farmer.

Nhema says: “I owe my success to granny Theresa, as she has generously imparted her business skills to willing members of the community free of charge.”

Chisveta boasts of never having worked for any individual or company in her life. Instead, she employs full-time and seasonal workers at her homestead.

Post published in: News
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  1. Eliza Toringepi

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