By Ayshah Allie, Nov 15
A true inspiration, a woman who was the epitome of a royal entrepreneur, a woman who is indeed the monarch of our family. This woman would be my grandmother (Mama), fondly known as Aunty Patsy and formally known as Mrs Gadija Allie-Ebrahim.
Growing up on the lush vineyards in Constantia, her father was a successful grape farmer who exported table grapes and provided my grandmother and her siblings with a privileged lifestyle. After the Group Areas Act, Mama decided to take her inheritance and buy property in Crawford along with my grandfather who ran the grocer – they had turned the one corner of a cottage house into a grocer. Mama was dead set on providing her six children with the best life possible. She made samoosas and pies to sell. Mama took this very seriously and by the time I was born (1980) my grandfather had just passed away. Mama rose before dawn everyday, she always made sure the household was equipped with the best, well-trained and kindly treated staff. The house was filled with all the grand kids, those who were little, those who were at school. We grew up to the sound of our granny rolling pies, cutting onions and the decadent smell of freshly baked pies. Clients oozed out of the front door, phones and door bells rang constantly. My granny landed many corporate clients who adored her and as a true entrepreneur, she always maintained good relationships with everyone, creating so many inroads in hindsight. Seeing this as I grew up was indeed networking at its best. In the holy month of Ramadaan, people came and queued for freshly fried samoosas – this still happens to this day. As a kid, seeing so many different people popping in and out of my grandmother’s house, was inspirational. The most amazing part of all of this was that my grandmother could not drive, however, she had the ability to make sure that she had all her ingredients from Elite supermarket, her favourite store – who knew that Mrs Ebrahim will only accept flour with a specific due date. Apart from all of this, my grandmother ensured that all her children were well established with tertiary education from the likes of UCT and Hewitt College under their belt. My grandmother extended that inspiration to her workforce to put their kids through school and tertiary education as well. Mama made sure we had a homecooked meal, with vegetables and dessert every single night and would even make two dishes if one never ate a certain dish, she weeded her own garden and picked her own fruit. I watched her as she made sure her orders went out in the perfect state and packed in boxes, which were given to her by the surrounding grocers. Her tarts were fancy and looked and tasted like little clouds of heaven. She worked from dusk til dawn, my grandmother not only showed me how to take risks and be courageous in business, she made us believe that anything was possible. She always said to me, don’t be afraid money will always be there to me made, character is the element that is most valuable. Being a true entrepreneur and a reflective human being, she also told us to make sure that we made time for our spouses and children as when they are gone it would be too late, since she lost my grandfather. My grandmother is indeed a legend in my books and her story inspires me and taught me so much about adding value to life.
My fashion & lifestyle brand is called Human Image, because of my high regard towards mankind, without each other, we have nothing.
Thank you homemade cpt for creating a platform for entrepreneurs, here’s to an ever-growing future filled with prosperity, goodness and amazing people!
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