Lessons from the Okpa seller

Lessons from the Okpa seller

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While purchasing garri and beans from the Nigerian woman who sells West African foodstuff earlier today, I observed a heartwarming scene. Men from the Eastern part of Nigeria were also buying food from her, showing the diverse range of customers she attracts. During my visit, she successfully sold R220 worth of food. One man purchased ten servings, while another bought just one, each priced at R20. Curious about the dish, I inquired about its name, and she informed me it was Okpa, a delightful delicacy prepared from Bambara nuts

    What truly struck me was how this remarkable woman’s food business has flourished since she became a widow. Her journey carries valuable life lessons that we can all learn from:

    1. Resilience in the face of adversity: Despite the challenges she faced after losing her spouse, this woman did not succumb to despair. Instead, she chose to channel her strength into building a thriving business, overcoming obstacles with unwavering determination.
    2. Adaptability and embracing diversity: By catering to a wide range of customers, including those from different cultural backgrounds, she exemplifies the importance of embracing diversity. Her willingness to adapt her offerings to suit various tastes and preferences has undoubtedly contributed to her success.
    3. Nurturing customer relationships: It is evident that this woman understands the significance of building strong bonds with her customers. Her ability to provide quality food, combined with warm and friendly service, has earned her a loyal clientele. This serves as a reminder that nurturing relationships and treating customers with care and respect are vital aspects of any business.
    4. Seizing opportunities for growth: Despite the initial setback of becoming a widow, this woman recognized the potential in her culinary skills and seized the opportunity to turn her passion into a thriving business. Her story reminds us that even amidst challenging circumstances, there can be hidden opportunities for personal and professional growth.
    5. Preserving cultural heritage: Through her food business, this woman plays an essential role in preserving and sharing the culinary traditions of her homeland. By introducing others to the flavors and richness of West African cuisine, she contributes to the preservation of cultural heritage and fosters cross-cultural understanding.

    Her success story is an inspiration for all, reminding us that with determination and the right mindset, we can overcome adversity and build a prosperous future.

    Tosin 'Badeniyi, PhD

    Tosin 'Badeniyi, PhD

    Tosin ‘Badeniyi, a Professor at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science at Durban University of Technology, South Africa, holds a doctoral degree in Food Science from University of Pretoria South Africa. Since 2001, he has conducted research and lectured internationally in the area of food quality and safety. He is the editor of Food Science and Technology: Trends and Future Prospects and has published numerous scientific publications as well as four inspirational books.

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