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LOOK: Elderly Vosloorus woman makes her own coal to keep her family warm and to generate an income

Published Jun 25, 2022

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Johannesburg - Winter has well and truly arrived in Gauteng as this week saw freezing temperatures coupled with unseasonal rainfall.

This week also saw the return of load shedding, and with the price of electricity distressingly high, an elderly Vosloorus woman was forced to think outside of the box.

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Khasilder Mbenzani, 64, lives in a one-room shack in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, with her two daughters and three grandchildren.

As warmth and electricity have never come easy in the township, the 64-year-old has started making her own version of coal. She uses this to keep her family warm, as well as for them to cook and bath.

She also sells the coal to provide an income to support her family.

Mbenzani stumbled across the idea when she found a muddy paste at a nearby river where she goes to pray. She noticed that when it is put under direct sunlight for a couple of hours, it hardens.

She then started to use the paste to make her own coal by mixing the muddy paste with coal ash. She moulds them into a ball shape and then places them under direct sunlight before the final coal product is ready.

Mbenzani now sells her coal in five kilograms to 20kg buckets, and this income is used to feed her family and reinvest in her business.

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