June 21, 2013



From garage cleaner to owner, Angela Ndziba, a smart entrepreneur tells Stuart Graham how it all happened for her as Heartlines, a campaign to promote positive values, gets South Africans talking about perseverance.

When Angela Ndziba was growing up in Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape she never dreamed that one day she would own her own petrol station.

Angela had 12 other brothers and sisters, five her own and the others adopted.

Her parents faced a constant struggle against poverty, but they always made sure their children were brought up with strong ethics.
“My parents taught me the importance of sharing,” Angela says. “I was taught that when you have lunch or dinner, then you should share what you have.”

In 1992 the family’s fortunes took a turn for the worse when Angela’s father died. Mr Ndziba had been working at a hospital in Fort Beaufort and had been the main breadwinner. Life became very difficult for the family.

“We survived, but we had to struggle to make ends meet,” Ndziba says.

In 1998 Ndziba moved in with her brother in Jeffrey’s Bay. She soon found a job as a cleaner at a Caltex garage.

“I used to mop the floor and clean all over,” she says. “It wasn’t always easy, but I kept my head up. I am someone who needs to smile and be happy.”

It wasn’t long before Ndziba captured the attention of the garage’s owner, Darrel Staples.

Staples took note of Ndziba’s determination and promoted her first to petrol attendant, then to cashier and then to manageress of the garage.

Late last year Staples sold his garage. Ndziba was worried about her future, but Staples told her to stay positive.

“He said don’t worry things are going to get even better,” she says.

Some time later, Staples approached Ndziba and asked her to be the 50 percent owner of his new garage. “I told him I had no money, but again he told me not to worry. We had to fill out application forms and go for interviews. It was a very stressful time. But one day he came and said the deal had been approved. I was now the co-owner of my own garage.”

Staples took Ndziba back to her home and they celebrated with her mother over a glass of champagne.
In recent months Ndziba has completed a diploma in business management. She is now doing a financial management course. Her life

has changed dramatically in the past three years.

“I want to tell people that you can get anywhere you want to if you persist. Even if you are poor, you can become rich. Now I want to use my position to empower others. It feels so good. I am so happy now. It feels like a dream.”

Ndziba says the cleaning lady at her garage is always smiling. “When I ask her why, she says its because she knows where I started.” – Heartlines Features


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