19 October 2021

To view a replay of the online event where the winner of the 2021 Absa/City Press Money Makeover Challenge was announced, click here

Absa in collaboration with City Press newspaper proudly announced an emerging poultry farmer from Mbombela in Mpumalanga as the winner of the 2021 Money Makeover Challenge at an online event. 

“While we’ve all been hunkered down in the second year of the global pandemic, participants in the 2021 Challenge have once again proven that good money habits will see you through any season and all crises,” says Mondli Makhanya, City Press editor-in-chief. 

This year’s six City Press readers and Absa clients Nocawe, Gugu, Stephan, Maryke, Audrey and Lwandile, like all those who have gone before them, have claimed their financial freedom. 

However, it is Nocawe who came out tops – not only changing the fortunes of her family for the better by following the few simple rules of good financial management, but even getting set to start her own small business. With the help of Absa’s small business team, she is making use of her family’s ancestral land to start a poultry business. Read all about it here: https://media24.shorthandstories.com/counting-your-chickens/index.html

The Absa/City Press Money Makeover Challenge is a six-month, cross-format challenge in which six readers are selected to take part according to strict guidelines. The six month-long journey tests their resolve and asks of them to take tough decisions on every aspect of their finances. Each candidate is paired with an Absa financial adviser who guides them through the steps to gain their financial freedom. 

This year, in addition to wanting to achieve their budgeting, saving, investing and wealth management goals, the candidates either wanted to start a small business or had a side hustle they wanted to develop to generate additional income and secure some savings. They were paired with an Absa banker who assisted them to write a winning business plan. 

“Small businesses are vital to enable job creation in South Africa and will play a key role to jumpstart our economy as it recovers from the impact of COVID-19. One of our key strategies is to engage and empower entrepreneurs and SMEs throughout their lifecycle, and it is our sincere hope that the knowledge our contestants have gained and the lessons they’ve learned throughout this journey will stand them in good stead as they continue to grow their financial assets and take their business savvy to the next level,” says Bongiwe Gangeni, Deputy Chief Executive, Absa Retail and Business Banking. 

“The stories of our six contestants underscore the importance of taking well-considered risks and not being afraid of failure. While failure can be devastating in the short-term, it is often the learnings from these events that become the springboard for future ideas and success,” Gangeni adds.  

What is perhaps most incredible and unique about this competition is how, no matter who takes home the big prize, every contestant wins something that is infinitely more valuable – control of their finances and the ability to plan and save for their life goals and their families.

“For me the most surprising outcome of this year’s challenge was how quickly the contestants managed to pay off their short-term debt. These were people who claimed that they did not have enough money to settle their debts and start saving, yet within six months and after some sacrifices, almost all of them are now completely debt-free and have amassed an emergency fund. Gugu, one of the contestants, who deserves a special mention, managed to settle three times her monthly salary in debt, a mean feat especially given the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” says personal finance expert Maya Fisher-French. She worked closely with the candidates and their advisers to showcase their stories and hopefully inspire other South Africans to start their own personal journey.  

“Money is an integrated aspect of our lives, and consumers have to deal with a large number of day-to-day choices when it comes to dealing with money matters. Financial topics are often perceived to be complex, and many of us grew up in households where money was never discussed around the dinner table. Financial education changes lives, it is about helping people make responsible and well-informed choices that pave the way to financial freedom and a healthy financial future for themselves, their families and society as a whole. With some careful planning, financial freedom may not be as difficult to attain as it seems,” says Theo Motha, Acting Group Executive: Marketing and Corporate Relations, at Absa. 

This is the fifth consecutive year that City Press hosted the Money Makeover Challenge and the fourth year for the Absa sponsorship.