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Doreen Dyidi Proud Single Mom
Big Issue vendor Beauty Mjethu is always spreading love, whether she’s at her pitch or at home. We get to know this mother of three.
Word and Image by: Lungisa Mnqwazi
Beauty Mjethu, 58, is a remarkable woman who is breaking boundaries to fend for herself and her family. Selling from her pitch in Cape Town’s Long Street, she is determined not to allow her age or health issues to stand in the way of her success as an entrepreneur. She started selling the magazine earlier this year after losing her job as a cleaner because of her age. “According to my previous employers, I was unable to clean properly so they had to release me to find someone who is much younger and has more energy to clean the house,” she explains. Having worked from an early age, Beauty has gained invaluable experience in life. “Times where tough back then and growing up in Upington with scarce opportunities, you had no choice but to leave the small town and come to the bigger city. I left my hometown and found employment at various places here in Cape Town. That was until my old age took over. Fortunately, I was able to make necessary improvements to my house, and back home. At least I have things that I can look at and smile; they are the reward of my hard work and success,” she says. Beauty’s magazine sales help to supplement the income she receives from her disability grant. “I use the money I make from selling the publication and my disability grant. It’s not enough but it helps put something on the table. My sons do help with groceries, so I’m able to survive on rainy days,” she explains.“I’m thankful to The Big Issue for giving me this opportunity. I would not be able to secure employment due to my age. I don’t like it when people feel sorry for me; I like to do things on my own without receiving handouts. As long I’m still breathing, I will use every opportunity to improve myself,” she adds
Beauty lives in Khayelitsha. While she has children of her own, she is known for caring for many others in her community. “I’m a mother of three and have 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. I’m also a mother to many others and know everything there is to know about motherhood. “Being a mom means more than having given birth to a child. It’s about loving and knowing a soul before you even see it. “A mother’s role is to love her children with all her heart and to understand them. That is what I do; I love my children unconditionally and equally,” she says. Beauty also has a few words of wisdom to share with parents. “Parents should stop having favourites among their children because of material matters. Your child is your child with or without anything.