“Money makes the world go round.” This quote is the definition of many people’s lives. There is very little that you can do without money, even the basic needs require it: a roof over your head, food and clothes etc.

What is hustling you might ask? Hustling is what we do to obtain money; everyone hustles in their own different way. It is making money by any possible means necessary. You push and force your way into business ventures so long as they will make you some extra cash.

When you Google the word “hustle” you might get negative connotations associated with it, like illicit methods of making money, but hustling is not limited to bad things only. In our modernised world it simply means a creative way of making money and working hard at making money to earn your living.

From the tender age of 14 I was a small time entrepreneur, from selling sweets, chocolates and chips to get lunch money and pay for my school trips to selling cigarettes, airtime and earrings to buy groceries and clothe myself when I was in varsity. I now sell toilet paper, second hand clothing and I get odd jobs now and then to put food on the table and raise my two boys. I always manage to get contract work and work for that specific period until the contract ends but like most people I would also love to have a permanent and secure job so that I can better my life and the life of my family members.

I would love to afford a chocolate cake on a normal Tuesday, not because it is someone’s birthday or because I am obligated to buy the cake no matter my financial circumstances, but because I am craving it and I can afford to buy it without breaking my budget. I want to at least see my country and all its beauties and not to just stay in Gauteng and never know my neighbouring provinces because my financial circumstances don’t allow me to travel.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to hustling. What works for one person might not work for another. Some people have permanent jobs but mostly people have temporary jobs and contract work which is not ideal for long term plans.

Let me take this opportunity to speak on behalf of every work seeker out there. It is not easy finding a job, the market is dry and we hear more about people getting retrenched than we do about people getting hired. We are living in a world where you can print out your CV and go out into the world to look for work as an eager job seeker ready for employment. You are then met with signs that read out “We are not hiring” or “We are not taking CVs”. You cannot even get past the gate to even speak for yourself to a prospective employer. No trespassing beyond this point is the end of the line for you.

There reality for most of us is temporary jobs or contract work and we work from job to job with little pay, hustling to put food on the table. Some people are small time entrepreneurs and they sell different goods for a living. There are also big time entrepreneurs who have long standing businesses and are able to create employment. We have street vendors and domestic workers, the list is endless really but the aim or common goal is to make money and to afford their basic needs and support their families.

There are those people who hustle by stealing and robbing others causing unnecessary pain and torment. A lot of us have been victims of crime and it is a terrible feeling and a horrific experience that one does not easily forget. There are households that are supported by children with no parents or family members and some of these children resort to crime as a way of making money. Perhaps we should sit down as a nation and think of legal and non-violent ways of making money.

There are so many ways that one can make money. I once knew a guy who was washing sneakers and polishing shoes to make a living and I supported him even when my sneakers were not really dirty. I would give them to him to wash because I respected his hustle more than someone who would point a gun to my head and ask for my phone and money.

Hustling is the story of most of our lives, we always trying to make money just to meet our basic needs and sometimes to even satisfy our wants and to have fun. We look for jobs and when we find them we look for better ones. When our salaries are not enough, which in most cases they are not, we have a side hustle like selling something, baking, catering, plaiting hair and whatever else one can do to make extra money.

Let us keep hustling until we make it, be innovative and think of ways to make money and create employment to boost our economy instead of keeping our heads down and complaining that there are no jobs. Let us build the future into what we want and fix it for our children and imagine a crime free world. It starts with you as an individual.


Read about how the youth are changing the world here.

Tell us: What is your experience with hustling?