Sunday, 1 December 2019


BY Ayesha Desai

Moral of this story:
👜👜 Please go out of your way to support home industries, single mums and those who sell something on the side to make ends meet 

Her hands grasped onto the cool metal bars, and she unwillingly remembered the cool feel of her long-removed wedding band. A memory flashed through her mind, of the day he had placed it on her finger. She remembered the henna designs her sister had patiently applied to her hands. She remembered the way her mother had lovingly helped her adjust her hijab...

And then she remembered the day she angrily pulled the ring off her finger. She remembered how she desperately thrust it towards the landlord, begging he take it in return for a month of rent. She remembered how she pleaded with the jeweler to please, just please give her an extra R100, and then she remembered the tears of anger and frustration as she resigned herself to his offer and shoved the crumpled notes into her coat pocket as she walked out.

"Mama..." The little voice asked. She hurriedly wiped away at the tears threatening to spill, "Yes lovey?" Little arms reached up, wanting to be carried, and she lifted her child onto her hip. The face that looked so like his turned into her neck, chubby fingers twirling strands of her hair, and the soft breath getting deeper as her child fell asleep. She lay him on the mattress on the floor, and returned to her work.

Her hands, once soft and pampered, now expertly measured, cut, stitched and draped fabric. She turned the plain flat sheets into exquisite works for other young brides. She was well known now, and her work sought after. She never made so much as to be considered rich, but Alhamdulillah it was enough to keep the landlord away from her door. It was enough to keep food in their bellies.

When Allah called him home, she felt the earth move, and it was not just a loss of a husband to contend with, but the fear that gripped her. How? How can she survive? For the first time with no man to rely on, and too much pride to return to her parents home, she was on her own.

At first, relying on meager savings, then pawning off the belongings they so carefully chose together to turn their little apartment into a cosy home. Then, when there was very little left even of that, it was finally a choice between 2 gifts that he given her. Sentimentality or practicality... And in exchange for it, she bought determination. She bought strength, she bought resolve, she bought a backbone!

Yes, on that decisive day, it looked a lot like bags of fabric, in different colours. But those bags soon turned into longer lenght burkas, in a range of colours from sky blue to crimson to emerald green. Standing with a plastic packet containing her work, a dua and a prayer in every stitch, she looked heaven wards and prayed her carefully rehearsed pitch would be positively received by the manager of the abaya store.

With a strenght she never she had and a desperation she had never before felt, she summoned every fibre of courage, and walked into the store with a sales talk ready. To her complete amazement, that first batch of burkas was sold, and the profit was enough to hold her landlord off for another week, and another and another.

Then one day for the first time in months there was enough left over for a meal that was more than plain pasta, or scrambled eggs. She even had an extra teaspoon of sugar in her tea, and the sweetness of her small success would linger for weeks.

Never look down on single mothers doing their best to survive financially. It takes a certain kind of strenght and resilience to take all the disappointments in life and keep working through them, to make a life for your children. All home industry entrepreneurs, but especially widows and divorcees, should be commended for their efforts, and as consumers, let us try to remember that these are not the ones we should be 'price bargaining' with.

 It astounds me at times, that people have no issues paying for designer handbags with extravagant dollar bill pricetags and wouldnt even for a second, think about asking for a discount, yet they make it an absolute sport to haggle a price with a small stall owner or the aunty making samoosas. Remember the home industry is where you should be happy to pay fair price for fair products. Dont play off peoples desperation.

May Allah grant us all barakah in our income, and grant us the ability to earn halaal rizq. Ameen.

1 comment:

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