A Kasi Meal Saves A Uni Graduate

A graduate from TUT – who survived gender-based violence – has pulled herself out of the unemployment pandemic through a kota shop.

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By Nthabiseng Mondhlana
Images supplied by Faith Maringa

After languishing in unemployment for half a year, a 27-year-old Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) graduate has managed to rescue herself through a kasi meal.

“I am in the fast-food business; we serve kota and chips,” says Faith Maringa from Giyani in Limpopo. This business venture, she says, took off after her siblings helped her out with equipment to open the kota shop in her hometown.

Had it not been for the kota business, Maringa would still be among the 7.7million unemployed youth in the country. The main reason for these youths to be inactive, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), is discouragement. They have lost hope of finding a job that suits their skills or in the area they reside.

The state of the economy, Maringa says, is so volatile, one cannot rely on academic qualifications to succeed. “I personally believe that South Africa has no plan for its youth. We need to turn our passion into making money as a youth, be it hairdressing, cooking, makeup, cleaning and organising things for people,” says Maringa.

She comes from a business-minded family. She inherited her entrepreneurial skills from her mother who owns a spaza shop. Maringa is also a pillar of strength and a shoulder to lean on for young girls and women who experience gender-based violence in her community.

Survivor of GBV

Maringa is a survivor of gender-based violence. Like many teenagers, she found herself in a relationship at the age of 17. But things quickly turned sour.

Terrified, Maringa found herself constantly lying about her bruises. They were caused by falling, she had told her parents, yet her then boyfriend was the culprit.

“My boyfriend [would] beat me for not wanting to engage in sex,” Maringa explains, “The abuse continued for two years. I felt trapped.” She, however, is better now.

Stats SA reports that at least 50% of assaults on women are carried out by someone close to them. While a spouse or intimate partner accounts for 15% of the assaults, relatives and other household members account for 13% and unknown persons are responsible for 29% of the assaults. 

Rape remains a menacing pandemic. The latest crime statistics, released on 3 June by Minister of Police Bheki Cele, indicate that 10 818 people were raped in the first three months of this year. Almost half of the rapes took place at the home of the rape victim or the rapist.

An advocate for the abused

Having survived, Maringa is now an advocate for young girls in abusive relationships. “Sometimes people just need to talk to someone,” she says. Her story has influenced other gender-based violence victims to confide in her. “I get a lot of young girls who are afraid to speak out to open up and share their stories with me.”

Maringa is also a model. In 2019, she joined the world of beauty pageants after dozens of people encouraged her. “My pageant journey started when I realised that God created me to be a voice. I looked for a platform that would allow me to use my voice effectively,” she says. 

Maringa is the true definition of beauty with brains. She pursues her goals masterfully. Her first attempt at a pageant won her the Miss TUT 2021 title. She was also Miss Giyani second princess during the same year.

For Maringa, it is just the beginning as she prepares to spread her wings and fly higher than eagles.

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