By Nawaal Adams
From experiencing the streets of Cape Town as a “sliding door operator” for taxis to venturing through the province as a tour guide, Eshaam Abrahams has fought through life’s struggles, but nothing is holding him back from achieving his dreams. The streets of the Cape Flats are filled with tragic stories of poverty, drugs and gangsterism and death, but this Manenberg native brings hope and inspiration to its youth.
Abrahams is the owner of E.A Travel, Tours and Transport Services, a local travel operator, who lives by his motto “Don’t be a tourist, be an explorer”. With his exceptional people skills and ambition, this year, he started his journey to become an entrepreneur. With the street smart from his days as a Manenberg taxi ‘gaatjie’, he slowly climbed the ladder of success.
Speaking to VOC Breakfast Beat, Abrahams said he became a ‘gaatjie’ to assist his parents in paying for his college fees. However, he soon realised that the field of mechanics was not his calling and wished to become a tour guide.
When he found out about his parents retrenchment he took it upon himself to continue as a ‘gaatijie’ provide for his family. He took a big step towards his goal when he got his driver’s license and became a licensed taxi driver. He persevered through each 12 hour day for almost 8 years.
“I had to adapt to people’s moods and make their experience in the taxi a good one,” he said.
Abrahams put his ‘gaatjie’ years behind him when he received an offer to work for a popular hotel in Cape Town. He started his exciting adventure as a driver. He saw to his guest’s every desired need and guided them in and around the wonders of Cape Town.
He longed to continue his journey to becoming a tour guide but he unfortunately lacked the required resources to finance his dreams. However, his dreams were saved when a friend of his offered to pay for the tour guide courses. Using his strength and determination he pushed through juggling work and studying. He passed with flying colours and soon became a registered tour guide.
One month after becoming a tour guide, the hotel he was working for retrenched him. However, Abrahams was far from lost in his journey. He immediately hired a car and worked on starting his business.
After being a remarkable tour guide and friend to his first and most popular German tourist whom he met at his days working for the hotel, a life-changing thing happened.
“I took him [the tourist] to Manenberg to give him a tour and my mom made him some daltjies and samooas. I told my friends to put on some Klopse gear and sing ‘Welcome to Cape Town’, to make him feel welcome. It was also his birthday and we sang for him. He didn’t want to leave!” he recalls.
“Then on Eid day, I get a call from him telling me he that he brought me a car and I should collect it. I couldn’t believe it!”
That act of kindness kick-started Abrahams’ business and sparked his entrepreneurial journey. Abrahams said he is more determined than ever to achieve his dreams.
“Most of the work comes from referrals from clients and family. If I don’t have work, I go out to look for it. Hopefully, my business will grow, InshaAllah.”
Abrahams wants to remind youth that their circumstances should not dictate their future and if they work hard enough, they can break away from the hardships of street life.
For more information, contact Eshaam Abrahams on 079 929 5713. VOC