Gaatjie’s road to success

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November 9, 2016
Gaatjie’s road to success

RISING UP THE RANKS: Eshaam Abrahams, 32, of Manenberg, with his Toyota Avanza

Taxi door operator is now a tour guide.

A Cape Flats man went from being a taxi gaatjie to a tour guide and business owner in a few short years.

Eshaam Abrahams, 32, from gang-ridden Manenberg believes that where you come from doesn’t dictate where you go in life.

Eshaam gave up on his dream of becoming a motor mechanic when his parents couldn’t afford the tuition.

He was 19-year-old when he became a taxi gaatjie, and for six years, earning R180 a day, Eshaam worked on the Manenberg to Cape Town route.

He later became a driver, but says: “I enjoyed the job, but there is no benefits. Once you become a taxi driver you can’t go any further, and I didn’t see myself being a driver forever.”

His fortunes changed when a friend offered him a job as a driver at a hotel in the CBD, driving tourists around.

Things changed again when a colleague asked him what he wanted to do with his life.

“My son was four at the time and I was thinking of his future. My colleague, Ramees Abrahams, gave me R5000 of his own money for me to do a week-long tour guide course,” he says.

And just a few weeks later, he heard he was being retrenched.

Then, he met Thomas Deutschenbaur, a German tourist and businessman.

“I showed him where I grew up in Manenberg and I took him to my mom’s house for a braai. I even had a few friends dress up as klopse to give him a lekker welcome,” he says.

Thomas was so impressed by Eshaam’s hospitality he offered to buy him a car, so that he could start his own tourism business.

Eshaam says he declined the offer: “I didn’t expect anything from him, I was just doing my job, trying to make him feel welcome in our city.

“Then on Eid this year, I got a call from Avis in Wynberg telling me I can fetch my Toyota Avanza [bought by Thomas],” he says

He established EA Travel, Tours and Transport this year.

“I found what I love, now it’s my turn to show these youngsters anything is possible, your surroundings don’t determine your future,” he says.

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