Faranah Osman – Read a book – it will change your life

President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed in his State of the Nation Address that one million internships would be created over the next three years. In response. Civil Society activist and Entrepreneur, Faranah Osman urged young Muslims to take advantage of the opportunities that will be on offer in a wide ranging interview with Farook Khan on Radio Al-Ansar’s talk show, 90 Minutes. She said that this was the single greatest job creation effort since the inception of democracy. “This is not just an opportunity, it is a gift and that the best young minds in the country will get those internships and it will be a gateway into their respective careers which could change their lives forever. The future is going to demand the best minds and the best bodies for jobs which will place them among the top achievers in the world. The first step is for every parent to ensure that his or her children get a tertiary education. This is the first step into the internships. I have no doubt in my mind that within two years, there will be a growing demand for trained, experienced and talented people,”

She went onto point out that basic education must start at homes and that parents must take it upon themselves to teach their children to read even before they go to pre-school. “In my home, both my parents were avid readers and they insisted on my siblings and I to be members of the local library and to read as many books as possible. It turned out to be such a uniting force for us as a family. It kept us together and grew the bonds among us. Just one book can change not just the life of a child, but of the entire family. We must ingrain in ourselves the culture of reading. Being average will no longer be enough. We have to rise above the best in the world.”

One of the most worrying and terrifying aspects community life was bullying whether it is in schools to tertiary institution or in the work place. Urgent education was needed to eradicate this evil which disrupts and even destroys lives. “This unacceptable behavior right across society must be stamped out and that  at every level, parents, teachers, lecturers and company executives must get involved to get at those people who are causing great hardships and denting our economy. This is one of her objects,” added Mrs Osman.

She pointed out that she looked upon her major role is to teach people, to be in a position to better their lives and to empower them in such a way that they take control of their wellbeing and that of their families. Wealth creation was not her goal, even though she was schooled in the best tradition of sound business to acquire economic gains, for whatever reason. She did not see this as being the most important aspect of her contribution to  society. She urged parents to be very close to their children and to win their confidence to such an extent that they confide in them and must feel free to report bullying whether at school, colleges, universities or the work place.

Mrs Osman said that as a child she believed that she would have a full schooling life and when she had matriculated, she would go to university. But it did not happen to her, because her father, Mr Mohamed Moosa Jooma insisted that all his children get into the business. “He took it upon himself to teach us business. How to market our merchandise, reaching out to people. To be able to accumulate wealth and an attitude on how to manage it. It was business, business and more business. I did not want to get into the world of commerce and industry. But the influence was just too much. I started off as a marketing project and from this humble beginning, it grew. I am in the spice industry and as such my products are manufactured in India and shipped into South Africa. I had to develop my brand, which took time and there were great hardships. However growth was slow, but then I was consistent and business picked up and the momentum gathered speed. We are now on the shelves of leading national supermarkets. I am not there yet, but I believe that we are making progress.”

Recalling her family’s involvement in business, she said that her grandfather arrived in South Africa to start cooking oil from peanuts business, which proved extremely successful. “It was the first of its kind among Indians, but some years later, he changed course and got involved in the hardware industry. All his children were encouraged to be self-employed. My father was on his own when he started buying and selling merchandise right across the commercial markets. He then opened a store, which was on the edge of KwaMashu and Phoenix. It was not a good place to be, the political violence, criminal elements and the poverty simply sapped my energy.”

Married top Rashaad Osman, of the Osman’s Taj Mahal Spice Empire, they have four children Layyah, Zahrah, Rayhan and Ilanah.

Speaking about the future she said that  the best way is what every individual can do with his or her life. Start is to read a book – any book. “It will change your life”

Farook Khan – Radio Al-Ansar,

“90 Minutes” Friday 16 February 2018.

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