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Success Is Not A Big Step In The Future, It’s A Small Step Taken Right Now


by Maya Fisher-French

Jun 27, 2022 04:05 PM

Tags: campaigns Absa/City Press Money Makeover Challenge

Follow six ordinary South Africans as they take up the City Press/Absa Money Makeover Challenge and undergo a money makeover boot camp. The next six months will test their resolve and make them face tough decisions on every aspect of their finances.

Each candidate has been allocated their own Absa financial adviser who will assist them in organising their finances and reaching their personal financial goals.

The candidates will be required to complete certain financial tasks and to stick to the budgets set out for them to win incentive prizes or be selected as the final winner.

We will be sharing their stories with you and hopefully inspire you to start your own journey.


Motsei is the owner of VIP Flushable Mobile Toilets, which provides clean and hygienic toilets for events and building sites in Kroonstad, Free State. With experience as an entrepreneur in the food industry, Motsei is looking to expand her micro business. “The business is doing well, but I believe we can grow it further and turn it into a great business empire, create more job opportunities and become a ‘go-to ablution facility’ in the future.”

MY BIG DREAM: To grow our business and go and watch a Formula One race live to watch Louis Hamilton making history.

MY WORST FINANCIAL MISTAKE: After losing my job, I used the money to start a restaurant at a shopping complex. The rent was astronomical, and I lost a lot of money in that venture.


Mpho is father to a two-year old daughter. He is a township entrepreneur with several businesses in Phelindaba, North West. He wants to learn how to generate money and grow the money he makes from the small businesses that bring him both joy and despair.

Mpho runs a small township fast-food restaurant called Babacazoo Walk and a small T-shirt printing business called Black Market Junction. He supplements his income as a part-time soccer coach and personal fitness trainer, having previously worked as the SuperSport United FC supporters coordinator. Mpho’s challenge is in managing these many businesses and deciding which ones need more attention.

MY BIG DREAM: My dream is to own a chain of restaurants to the standard of Spurs Steak Ranch, Roadhouse or Baobab.

MY WORST FINANCIAL MISTAKE: I buy things I think will enable me to make money, but I end up not making it. I like helping people, so some of my money is among the people in my community who borrowed money and now it’s difficult to recover.


Wisani is in his early thirties and works for local government. Like many households, their income was affected by the Covid lockdown when his partner lost her job. Wisani had recently committed to new car finance.

In order to make ends meet, he took out a personal loan in January. He has two young children to support and the household is under financial pressure. He is determined not to let his insurance policies lapse, especially funeral cover for his mother, as he has been paying it for years.

MY BIG DREAM: To finish the house of my unemployed mother, which I started back in 2020, but have been unable to complete due to finances.

MY WORST FINANCIAL MISTAKE: To take out credit I did not need.


University lecturer Zinzy is academically smart but acknowledges that, when it comes to her finances, she has made some “ignorant financial decisions”. Managing money is not something you learn at school or university, and, without that knowledge, even well-educated people can find themselves in difficulty.

Zinzy’s debts are putting her under financial pressure. They include a large tax bill owed to the SA Revenue Service, which they are deducting from her salary, and a piece of land she cannot afford to build on. 

MY BIG DREAM: I dream of owning a home for myself and my son. I dream to be as financially smart as I am academically. I would love to not live pay cheque to pay cheque.

MY WORST FINANCIAL MISTAKE: I have made many mistakes, including agreeing to buy a sibling a car on the promise that he would pay the instalment; freelancing to earn extra income and not sorting out the tax implications; taking credit to supplement monthly commitments; taking a mortgage on an empty stand, without proper planning around when I would be able to build.


Sandra is a 30-year-old physiotherapist, with a young daughter and a fiancé. Her partner works abroad and leaves the family finances to her. “I have been struggling to manage my finances for the past four years now. It has come to the point where I have to be honest with myself that I simply don’t know how to manage money properly.”

MY BIG DREAM: My big dream is to one day be a property investor, working for myself, making a comfortable living at the same time as creating jobs and opportunities for others.

MY WORST FINANCIAL MISTAKE: My biggest financial mistake was cancelling my retirement annuity and investment account. At the time, I didn’t have any other financial commitments. If I had carried on with them, I would at least have some money to fall back on for emergencies.


Sanet and Marius joined the Money Makeover Challenge as their 10-year anniversary gift to themselves. “The world is a real roller coaster. We have to provide for ourselves, but we also have parents to provide for and look after.”

The couple bought a food truck franchise as a side income. The business is not making money and putting them further into debt each month.

OUR BIG DREAM: To give our child a better life than we had; we both had to work weekends when we were in school to put food on the table. We want to make the food truck successful.

OUR WORST FINANCIAL MISTAKE: At this stage, we don’t know if buying the food truck franchise was a good or bad decision, as we feel like we are just going backwards. We did not do our homework on the high levies when we bought the investment flat.

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