erato Seko of Braamfischerville, Soweto, may be only 27 years old, but she has already helped to extend her family’s low-cost government home.
The communications officer works for the Public Affairs Research Institute at Wits University and shares the house with her mother, a bank clerk, and her 15-year-old sister. Seko, who began working four years ago after she obtained her degree in politics and economics, says she has always had a dream to renovate her mother’s home.
In 2013, she applied for a R15 000 loan from Capitec Bank to help her mother with renovations. They added two rooms to the house, and she paid off the loan in eight months.
“I’m luckier than some of my friends with unemployed parents. I do it because my mother denied herself many things to make sure my sister and I had better opportunities than she did,” she says. “As soon as you earn a living, you need to be a contributing member of the family, even carry it if need be.” Although Seko wants to save money, it is proving difficult because of her family priorities. “You do what you have to, even if it means taking out a loan. I’ve always considered myself financially responsible, so my retirement and savings are taken care of,” she says. Every month Seko, who would not reveal what she earns, gives her mother R1 000 for groceries and buys the electricity. She also pays for the family’s medical aid.
“You get extra expenses that pop up during the month, but that’s life,” she says.
Also, those overseas trips she’s been dreaming of will take a while to be realised. “I’m saving up for my first car and hoping to do my master’s degree next year. My little sister will be going to varsity in 2018 and I’ll help out as much as I can.
“The better you do in life, the better off your family must also be,” she says.
Groceries and household expenses: R1 000 Electricity: R400 Transport: R800 Medical aid: R1 600 Retirement annuity: 6% of her income