AN alarming number of Zimbabwean social media users bombarded Tinopona Katsande with ridicule after it came to light that the popular ex-television and radio personality had resorted to selling eggs for a living.
Unflattering comments, dripping with mockery and misogynist innuendo, were posted from far and wide: Has Tino fallen on hard times? How the mighty have fallen! A celebrity, selling eggs to make ends meet!
This kind of reaction, perhaps, again brought to the fore a disturbing tendency by people in this country: celebrating the perceived misfortune of others.
But to Katsande, brought to fame for her role as Joyce Huni in the local soap opera Studio263, those mocking her hustle are mistaken!
In fact, the cyberbullies, as she calls them, do not themselves make enough money in their careers as she does from selling eggs.
TinTin – as she is fondly called – says she earns at least US$100 daily from sales.
TinTin’s egg business is literally growing by the day. A crate costs US$5 and on average she gets 20 orders, bringing the total earnings to US$100 per day.
Suppose she delivers the same orders for 22 days excluding weekends, this means she earns US$2 200 per month. Handsome or pretty returns indeed!
“Well let’s just say my sales have increased tremendously and it keeps improving,” Katsande tells The NewsHawks.
“I’m working hard to provide a good service and it’s giving back rewards like repeat customers.
“At the moment it’s US$5 a crate of large eggs and I get an average of about 20 orders of more than five crates a day, but no order is too big or too small for us.”
That said, about 75% of her customers are based in the diaspora and some are users of Twitter, through which they place orders for their loved ones back home.
“I am super excited that for the first time in my life Zimbabweans have come out in full support of my daily hustle.
“I supply protein to people from all walks of life in social and political spheres. I cannot name them one by one, but all I can say is it’s been encouraging. It is the first time that people have showed me love, including on Twitter, without tearing me down,” she explained.
Inspired by the need to fend for her two children — Yambuko Mukana (5) and Alexander Mupi (2) — she has fearlessly grabbed life by the horns. She is using the brickbats thrown at her to build a better future.
“I needed to raise some extra income to help with the kids as I’m a full-time mom now and was not formally employed so since the onset of the pandemic lockdowns I have been coming up with ventures to try and raise money to provide for the family,” she explained.
She said eggs, a source of protein, were for everyone and her company — Mazai kwaTino —focuses on swift delivery service with a personal touch.
“At the moment for the larger orders or if by specific request, I personally deliver the eggs to one’s door and that is proving to be great marketing,” she said.
Asked how she is coping now that there is huge demand for eggs, TinTin said she has engaged more egg suppliers, including those outside Harare.
“I had to strategise quickly and work with farm-fresh egg suppliers from my home area Mutoko and surrounding small to medium-scale egg suppliers in and around Harare.
“I have an intentional bias to buy from fellow women who are also trying to hustle and provide for their kids like I do. It’s my way of ‘pulling her up, not pushing her down’ initiative,” TinTin said.
“Mutoko, women egg producers from in and around Harare and sometimes when demand is too high, I get from my family as my nephew Michael Jarrett rears chickens too. He is actually the one who inspired me try egg selling.”
She has earned more customers through her door-to-door delivery service that augurs well with the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
Already, plans are afoot to supply eggs to every corner of the country although her major challenge is fuel costs.
“Our prime service is delivery of farm-fresh eggs to one’s doorstep. I deliver in and around Harare and am in the process of providing a countrywide courier service.
“With the current inter-city travel restrictions and the impact of fuel costs in my logistics, currently all my profit is being absorbed into fuel and so I’m desperately trying to find a way or partners to make it a viable venture,” she said.