Zinhle Maphanga: Driven by Her Sweet Dreams

It is important to encourage children to dream because dreams drive children to see beyond their reality. Zinhle Maphanga was just a child when she started selling sweets in primary school, today her dream of owning a candy shop has become a reality.

Dealt with a childhood that is tougher than most, Maphanga was fuelled by her dreams to get herself out of poverty. “I lost my parents at a young age. My dad died 1992 my mom died in 1996. From there things change because my grandparents had to raise me and my siblings. I started to hustle at a young age,” Maphanga shares with Spot-On.

To supplement the little income her grandparents had, Maphanga sold sweets whilst in grade 6 at Siyanda Mazulu Primary School, in KwaMashu KwaZulu-Natal. “I started selling sweet from a young age. It was so nice for me to sell sweets because as I was growing up, I had love of sweet, I use to tell myself that one day I will own a shop,” the 33-year-old says.

Shweet: Zinhle’s All Things Sweet logo. Photo supplied

That dream of opening a candy store was realised in 2020 when Maphanga opened the doors of Zinhle’s All Things Sweet in 2020 at Philani Valley Mall, Umlazi, KZN. She had saved up income from a daily job to open the store of her dreams, as the world was battling Covid19.

Just before the one-year anniversary of launching her store, last year around this time Zinhle’s All Things Sweet was looted during the July unrests which was largely experienced in Maphanga’s KZN. “It affected me a lot because I only had ten months with shop. My shop was not insured, the looting has abused me a lot because I had nothing in my life,” Maphanga says somberly.

Ready To Serve: Zinhle Maphanga (center) inside her store with her employees. Photo supplied

Fortunately, shortly after the riots in July youth development non-profit company, Afrika Tikkun Foundation launched the Reviving Township Economies initiative which its main purpose is to assist businesses that are based in riot-affected communities. The initiative has helped over 900 businesses, saving over 2700 jobs in township based Small and Medium Enterprises.

“Thanks to the generous contributions from public and private organisations, as well as donations from the civil society, we have been able to assist hundreds of businesses from informal traders, selling essential goods to vulnerable communities to local spaza shops, internet cafes and educational businesses,” said Alef Meulenberg, CEO of Afrika Tikkun Foundation in a press release.

Up and Running Again: Zinhle Maphanga with the Afrika Tikkun Foundation team at her new store. Photo supplied

“Reviving township has helped me a lot because they assisted me to start up my business at KwaMnyandu Shopping Centre,” Maphanga says. Her store was reopened last December a few months after the July incident.

Maphanga has been at the new store for more than six months now, working with her four employees. Everything is going well, but the businesswoman must now contend with Eskom’s persistent load-shedding. “It affects me a lot because I have to close the shop early because some products get rotten because there’s was no power,” she says.

But she’s a dreaming girl who sees beyond her reality. “I see Zinhle’s All Things Sweet opening new job opportunities for young people of Umlazi township, I see myself having more than two shops,” Maphanga says.