Dec 23, 2016


The Shoprite Group has helped to fulfil a lifelong dream for one its employees this December. Sbonelo Ndwandwe, a deaf employee at Shoprite’s eManzimtoti store just outside Durban, had been saving up for almost a year to help his mother secure premises to run a tuckshop and eventually a crèche.

After hearing the story, the retailer decided to reward Sbonelo's years of hard work by donating a shipping container to his mother to kick-start her business. The container is being retrofitted with windows and doors and will be delivered to his mother’s Nongoma home early in January 2017.

Sbonelo lost his hearing in 2003 due to tuberculosis. Unable to find work after the diagnosis, he eventually heard about Shoprite’s Learnership programme for Deaf people. “I was sad, lonely and very depressed before I found out about the Shoprite Learnership. I couldn’t believe there we so many deaf people like me and I began to make friends quickly. Our facilitator, Pinky, was also Deaf and she was great. I learnt a lot from her,” says Sbonelo.

Sibonelo Ndwandwe

As the largest private sector employer in South Africa, the Shoprite Group believes that developing people’s skills drives not only its business, but also the economy. The company works to develop skills amongst youth by creating job opportunities directly linked to its business. One such programme is Decade of the Deaf, a project launched in 2009 in partnership with Employ and Empower Deaf (eDeaf).

The Group has, over the past seven years, provided more than 700 deaf and hard-of-hearing people with the opportunity to complete an NQF Level 2 qualification. Following a competency evaluation, those who qualify are guaranteed employment within the supermarket group.

Sbonelo has been with Shoprite since 2014 and currently works in the Fruit and Vegetable Department. He is described by his managers and peers as ‘outstanding and always going the extra mile to satisfy customers’. Having fully embraced the opportunity provided through the Learnership, Sbonelo continues to excel at his job by improving his sign-language skills to offer customers the best service.  He now intends to use the money he saved up to help grow his mother’s business.

The Shoprite Group believes in the development and support of disabled individuals, and will continue its programme with deaf learners so that they may be empowered through finding gainful employment.

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