From SASSA Grants to Inspiring Entrepreneurship: Meet Zuziwe Maphalala, the Driving Force behind Zoezie Weigh and Pay

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Introducing Zuziwe Maphalala of Zoezie Weigh and Pay. “Zoezie Weigh and Pay in Katlehong, Johannesburg, provides affordable groceries, grains, spices, oils, and meats as well as its own branded consumable goods at competitive prices.”

In this feature, we get to know Zuziwe and her business in more detail, as well as dive into her accomplishments and what is next for this inspiring woman and her brand. From being a top 12 finalist in the I Amstel Entrepreneur Competition to proving she has a business model that stands out from others, this interview should be on everyone’s reading list!

What inspired you to start Zoezie Weigh and Pay?

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I became dependent on my children’s SASSA grant money as my only source of income. As such, being unable to stretch it until the end of the month, I knew an urgent intervention was needed. I decided to establish Zoezie Weigh and Pay Grocery Store by replacing my internet cafe business, which had shut down at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Could you share any noteworthy accomplishments or significant milestones that your business has achieved thus far?

My business has grown exponentially in such a short period of time that there is so much to highlight.

For instance, we started as a weigh and pay-for-grains and spices, however, we expanded and added a spaza shop in January 2022 to support our business model and make our service more convenient and seamless for our customers.

Second, my store was recently recognised as one of the top 12 finalists in the I Amstel Entrepreneur Competition, which is testimony to my commitment to becoming a change-maker in my township.

Through the competition, I am currently receiving mentorship from Lebogang “Smega” Mothibe (Shugasmakx) to assist my company and acquire as much business advice and experience as I can during this time. 

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How do you stay motivated and continue to innovate in your industry? 

The biggest reason I am doing this is because of my children, Tumisho and Thoriso. However, I was born here (Katlehong) and I am always trying to find solutions to problems in my community, especially those associated with poverty. Economic growth depends on township businesses, and I believe we hold the key to achieving it.

What sets your business apart from others?

I opted to build my business model on the simple fact that South Africa has a relatively small footprint of businesses with a retail framework that enables one to consume ‘as one goes’ or as you can afford. It is only really spaza shops that consider this. My primary selling point is the simplicity of getting smaller quantities of consumables at the best pricing.

For example, at Zoezie Weigh and Pay, unlike at other spaza shops, we let clients make purchases in accordance with their budgets. For instance, customers can weigh and pay as little as R3.0 for brown sugar, while R0.30c is the price for a single teabag. In and surrounding my community, we are currently the only store that accepts 10c and 20c coins.

Do you have any advice for aspiring females in your industry?

You don’t need to be ‘tough or hard’ to get by. Simply adhere to the business discipline, and you are going to thrive. Be dependable, expand your network, work smart, and do research at all times.

Getting to know Zuziwe:

  • If I had to choose one person, alive or dead, as my inspiration, it would be… My mother, Manaledi Dire is my inspiration. Despite being an orphan since she was 3 months old, against all odds, she managed to finish school, get a degree, and work as a professional until she retired. She passed in July 2021.
  • Your favourite hobby… Doing research around topics that are of interest to me and spending time with my family. 
  • Your daily mantra… “Building a legacy is my ultimate goal”

What is next for Zoezie Weigh and Pay?

I am proud to announce that we will soon be launching a sister store next to the Weigh and Pay as part of my ambition to increase my company Zoezie Weigh and Pay’s impact.

Thank you, Zuziwe! And the best of luck for the future. Follow her journey below.

HEYBOO, Hey Boo, HeyBoo, however you may write it yourself, is a blog centred around inspiring women, inspiring women. Our goal is to celebrate women in all walks of life and in any industry who are making noise and doing the most. Interviews with women about their experiences in business, or other sectors aim to inspire and educate our readers. Whether you want to learn more about how to break into an industry, or just get uplifted by some truly inspiring stories, we’ve got the read for you! While we are focused on spreading the news about awesome women, we branch into brand reviews, and other fun and interesting blog categories to feed your curious soul.