When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many South Africans who work in the events and entertainment industry were left with no source of income as events were cancelled due to regulations aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.
In an effort to provide support to the millions of people who were most vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic, government introduced various programmes across its departments, including relief funds to soften the economic impact sparked by the pandemic.
Government established the Social Relief of Distress Grant as a temporary provision of assistance to unemployed persons.
Since the onset of COVID-19, the Social Relief of Distress Grant has provided support to more than 10 million unemployed people who were most vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic.
When government announced applications for the grant, a 30-year-old man applied for the grant and used it to start a business.
Prior to the pandemic, Thando Makhubu worked as an events photographer.
“When the pandemic hit, it was really bad as there were no events, meaning I had no work. I applied for the grant after it was announced and I was accepted. The proceeds from the first month went towards groceries and I saved the grant payment for the second and third month.
“I had R700 and when I saw a picture of an ice cream on an image sharing and social media service application, I decided to purchase products that I liked and combined them to create a product. It was an experiment,” he said on Monday, in an interview with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).
Upon the completion of creating the product, the fashion designer and self-taught photographer took pictures of it and posted it on WhatsApp, where it was seen by media personality Mohale Motaung.
“He came to my place for the product and posted it on his social media accounts, which led to people being interested in the product. It also helped grow our social media presence,” Makhubu said.
Makhubu, who now employs four people, operates the Soweto Creamery, an ice cream business, from his mother’s house in Jabulani, Soweto.
“We are planning to find a commercial place within Soweto to create a restaurant where we increase our assortments by adding products like waffles, milkshakes and coffee to the menu,” he said.
Delivering his State of the Nation Address earlier in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the extension of the grant until March 2023.
Source: South African Government News Agency