Dream comes true for fudge selling graduate

FINALLY … Martha Jonas finally graduated after surviving years of financial challenges during her studies.

Many Namibians will remember the story of Martha Jonas, a University of Namibia (Unam) business administration student who was selling fudge to support her family and survive through university.

Jonas (25) started selling fudge in 2014 when she was just in Grade 9. Her financial situation grew worse when she began her university education, so she continued selling fudge, this time on campus and in malls in Windhoek to help pay her rent and taxi fare.

Fortunately, her fudge often sold fast, usually during the first lesson.

Despite this, her journey was not always easy.

“I was happy that sales were increasing and I had to take more fudge to the campus. It helped a lot. It was, however, also hard to stand in the scorching sun at the university gate. I also often had trouble with security guards who tried to confiscate my fudge, as we were not supposed to sell things on campus. I had to master hiding my fudge from them,” she recalls.

The memories of embarrassment from being chased around by security guards, and other students looking down on her are still fresh.

Matters grew worse when her younger sister also started her studies at Unam, while Jonas was in her second year, which doubled the family’s financial burden.

However, Jonas saw this as an opportunity.

“I noticed the suffering of other students. I decided to sell fudge in bulk, in order for others to resell it. It also helped others a lot,” she says.

Unfortunately, another challenge arose in 2021 when her older sister lost her job in a hotel at Swakopmund due to Covid-19.

This led to Jonas studying remotely from Swakopmund.

The entrepreneur, who lived with nine younger brothers and cousins, added making pizzas and doing hair to her ventures, while employing young people at Swakopmund to sell her fudge.

“I had so many things to do per day, because I was now the breadwinner in the house at age 23. My unemployed parents had moved to the north and my older sister who was helping a bit had gotten married. We also had a pipe burst problem and were in arrears of about N$12 000. We managed to pay off that money last February. Unfortunately, the pipes burst again in June. So we fixed and installed new pipes, but are still paying off the water bill in arrears of close to N$13 000,” she says.

“I later started to work as assistant chef and waitress to earn additional money. At some point, I wanted to drop my studies and focus on my business. I thank God that I did not proceed with that plan. This journey really tested my faith in God.”

Jonas says she later realised that she was neglecting her studies and decided to redouble her focus.

In 2023, she applied for an internship position at the Swakopmund municipality to gain experience in business studies.

Today, she is finally able to boast with a bachelor of business administration honours degree after graduating on Wednesday.

She urges young people never to give up, despite challenges.

“Look for opportunities rather than sitting at home and suffering. Jobs do not search for themselves. It is time to be creative and hardworking on our own. I was teased a lot at Unam but I managed to add to the money that my sister and I got from our student loan so I could survive.

“Never give up on your dreams. I started university in 2018. It took me six years to finish my four-year degree, but God made it happen at the right time. Isaiah 60:22 says, ‘When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen’,” she says.

Her younger sister Ndahafa Jonas is currently in her fourth year, pursuing an honours degree in accounting.

She says she has always been motivated by her older sister.

“She was always the first in her class in primary school. I have always been astonished as to how she can achieve so much at a young age. I also wanted to do my best, like her. She motivated me so much from Grade 8 that I improved in my studies from being an average student to a B student. I also want to finish my studies,” she says.

Martha recently registered her business: Martha Jonas’ Trading Enterprise CC.

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