CATHERINE BWALYA, Choma
BUSIKU Choonga is a voluptuous 31-year-old resident of Choma who radiates a lot of energy. You will usually see her with a bucket of fritters or vegetables on the streets which she sells to her customers. But a few months ago, Busiku, who possesses a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s in auditing, worked in an air-conditioned bank office as a banker. For many residents of Choma who knew Busiku, the switch from a banker to a fritter seller was too much to comprehend. Who does that?
But Busiku says she never found fulfilment in sitting and working in a bank, hence she decided to venture into something that she would enjoy. Her passion for entrepreneurship dates back to the time she was pursuing her degree at Rusangu University in Monze. “I am a daughter of a teacher while my mother is just a housewife, so I never had enough financial support, and you know Rusangu University does not offer bursary. I started remaining at school during holidays to work in the fields, kitchen and cleaning the ablution for distance learning students. “So I would help my father to pay my school fees from the work I was doing during holidays and I also decided to start selling small items such as second-hand doormats,” she says. She graduated in 2013 and moved back to Choma, where she continued selling second-hand doormats and breast holders while going round applying for a job. “I was employed in 2014 by Investrust Bank Choma branch where I worked until I decided to resign in 2020. It was during the period I worked that I pursued my master’s [degree] at University of Lusaka where I graduated in 2019 as the only Zambian female. “So while working, I had a side hustle of network marketing and it was then when I also started selling fritters,” Busiku says. She started selling fritters after she saw potential in her workmates because they used to buy them from outside, so she decided to start supplying the fritters and would only make 20 in a day. She then realised that the passion in her was in working on the street and interacting with the community, unlike sitting in a bank under an air conditioner. “I felt that my passion was out here and not in the office, so I told myself that as much as I need the money, I can go and do better outside in the community. My other motivation for resigning was that I have always seen myself as an employer and not an employee,” she says. Busiku planned for her resignation for two years because, of course, she had fears of not having a stable source of income afterwards. To her advantage, her family supported her decision to resign because they understood how passionate she is about entrepreneurship although she received a lot of criticism from most people who are not close to her. “I was criticised especially that I resigned during the time when there were scandals involving female bankers stealing money from their workplaces… so people were thinking I was fired because I also stole. “So many people became so concerned and kept wondering and waiting to hear that I was fired due to theft or some kind of misconduct. But I kept on telling them that I want to focus on selling Inuka products (network marketing) and fritters, but CLICK TO READ MORE