Sheila Foroma (34) from Kalfontein is popping popcorn to break the vicious cycle of poverty in her family. She bought a popcorn machine, and employed her sister to sell popcorn early December outside Boxer Superstores at the corner of Arch fisher and Mudhopper Streets.

Most people in areas like Kalfontein and Tembisa are living in persistent poverty, according to figures released by Stats SA. Sheila who is currently unemployed, realised that popcorn fits perfectly as an inexpensive snack for Kalfontein and Tembisa community.

Then she bought a popcorn machine. Popcorn machines are ideal for bars, churches, country clubs, shopping centres, large break rooms and restaurants, or for entrepreneurs like Sheila who wants to start a small business to earn an income. “My sister wanted to do something for herself and for the kids.

Then she came up with the idea of buying a popcorn machine. She recently bought a machine for ice cream as well,” Sheila’s sister told this publication.

Asked how much the business makes on a good day she said: “Each day is different so it depends. However, most people choose to buy those popcorn we sell for R3.” She is not sure how many packs they sell each day, but says on average she makes between R300 and R250 each day.

Popcorn is a source of fibre, protein, complex carbohydrates and vitamins, and also has a low fat and sodium content. “People say our popcorn is tasty,” she revealed. In South Africa, popcorn production is estimated at 55,000 metric tons per year. Popcorn is produced mostly by irrigation farmers in the Free State and Northern Cape. There is something timeless and joyful about the queue of people waiting at the machine for freshly popped corn to be scooped into paper cones.

In movie cinemas popcorn remains a concession stand staple whose scent has spawned marketing ploys and copycat recipes for years. “So far everyone is happy with that we are operating here. It is possible that we may be here the whole year.” said Sheila’s sister.

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