PITCH: 13-19 Hof St, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001
SHOOTING FROM THE HIP
Jakoef would lilke to own a home of his own one day. He’d appreciated any assistance from readers about how to do this or guidance on how to get onto the department of human settlement’s waiting list for a house. If you would like to assist him, contact The Big Issue office on 021 461 6690 or email email@example.com
Big Issue vendor of the month Jakoef Gallant may have had a tough life, but this father of three is persevering each day to make ends meet and provide for his youngest son.
Big Issue vendor Jakoef Gallant, 59, has nothing but praise for The Big Issue. He’s been selling the magazine for the past 20 years at Park and Hof streets in Gardens, and says the organisation has helped him turn his life around.
A backyard dweller living in Delft with his youngest son, Jakoef survives on money earned from selling The Big Issue and from a monthly social grant.
“I live with my 14-year-old son who is in Grade 8; my other children are older and have their own houses. I’m a father and a mother to my youngest son because his mom passed on three years ago. It’s not easy but I try my best to provide everything for him so that he doesn’t end up being mischievous,” says Jakoef.
Born in District Six, growing up for Jakoef was tough and he had to survive on his own at an early age. “My parents were very poor and couldn’t provide for me.
I had to drop out of school when I was in Grade 3.
After dropping out of school I had to hunt for my next meal. By the age of 13, I wasn’t worried about presents on my birthdays. I was worried about whether my parents would be able to put food on the table or pay the bills at home,” he recalls.
Jakoef lived a life of poverty for most of his upbringing, into adulthood. “When my parents passed on, I had to move out of the house that we were renting and find my own space. That’s how I ended up living in a backyard in Delft. I’m not complaining as long as I have a roof over my head and food on my table.”
Prior to selling the magazine, he worked odd jobs to make a living. “Finding employment was a huge problem, but I survived all the harshness of life by using some of my skills to fend for myself. I even collected cans and other metals to sell them to scrapyards,” he says.
Hopes and Aspirations
Although Jakoef has not had an easy upbringing, he is determined to create a brighter future for his youngest son. Selling The Big Issue gives him the opportunity to get closer to realising his aspirations for his son.
“I am happy to be selling the magazine because I can use that money to pay my rent, buy clothes for my child and provide for myself. The little that I get from customers is enough to keep me going.”
And while he dreams of a better life for his son, his heart also goes out to other children who live in poverty.
“My advice to the kids out there who are not having it easy growing up is that they must be persistent and push to improve themselves so that they can provide for their kids when they grow up,” he concludes.