Change is in your pocket

The Big Issue is a socially responsible non-profit organisation that enables willing unemployed and marginalised adults to take responsibility for their own lives through a developmental employment programme.

Ntobeko’s learning curve

This month’s vendor success story follows Ntobeko Makuala (35), an IT graduate on a journey to empower himself with the help of The Big Issue.

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Ntobeko Makaula sells The Big Issue at Paradise Road, Claremont. He moved to Cape Town from Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape in pursuit of greener pastures. “I came to Cape Town to seek employment, but that unfortunately didn’t happen. I didn’t want to sit and feel sorry for myself, so in the 2002 I joined the Big Issue,” says Ntobeko.


Ntobeko completed a security course in 2005 at Ukhuselo Training Academy and Security in Bellville. “I did the security course and worked as a security guard until 2015. I paid half of the fees for the course with money I had saved from my Big Issue profits. The Big Issue paid the remaining balance for me,” he explains.

Ntobeko went back to selling The Big Issue after enrolling himself in an IT course at Boston City Campus in 2014. “I had saved my earnings to study further, but it’s difficult being a student and a providing father as well. “Returning to The Big Issue at that point was the best decision. It allowed me to sell and have flexible time for my studies. Here you become your own boss. I managed to finish my studies on time and graduated on 7 July. I will be forever grateful to The Big Issue,” he adds.


Studying at Ntobeko’s age isn’t always smooth-sailing, but he set his sights on his goal and didn’t allow anything to bring him down. “Studying at my age has its challenges, but I enjoyed my studies – especially the software modules.

“There were times of difficulty, but I never felt like giving up as I was studying towards a better future for my children. When things popped up in my studies that needed to be financed immediately, The Big Issue was always there to give me a helping hand.

“Now, I’d love to get a job in the IT industry as a software developer to gain experience and build my skills so that I can open my own business. From here, the sky is limit,” Ntobeko concludes.

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