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.
PITCH:  Dorp Street, Cape Town
AGE:  41


Bulelwa would love to enrol in a sewing course at the Khayelitsha Training Centre. The course costs R2 300; this includes registration and monthly fees. If you can help in any way, contact The Big Issue offices on 021 461 6690.

Bulelwa Vivian Nohentshana

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Independence is imperative for Bulelwa

Our vendor on the pitch, Bulelwa Vivian Nohentshana (41), sells The Big Issue on Dorp Street, Cape Town. She talks to us about her dedication to being an entrepreneur and a mother.

“I started selling The Big Issue in 2009 because I like having my own things. I needed financial freedom, independence and flexible working hours. Unlike my previous job as a domestic worker, selling The Big Issue afforded me the opportunity to achieve this independence and financial freedom. Our regular vendor meetings are a great help, as we get to share ways to improve our sales and just offer each other much-needed support.”

Overcoming obstacles

“Working for yourself – selling a magazine to be specific – is not as easy as it sounds. It has its up and downs. Challenges include getting new customers and building a relationship with them. Our group discussions are really helpful in this regard.

“Difficulties also arise when the magazine is not as new and my customers have purchased their copies, so I have to target new customers to buy my remaining copies.

“Having said that, it’s also not as bad. Apart from making money every day and putting food on the table, I get to meet people from all walks of life. Each day is a new experience and it’s exciting. My customers are people of all ages, races and from all over the world. Selling the magazine in town also gives me the advantage of interacting with tourists.”

Gospel mom

“I ran a business from home, which failed because I gave customers meat on credit. I plan to revisit that business, but with a new strategy this time. I’d love to have a sewing business as well, as I’m a skilled seamstress. The only obstacle is that I don’t own a sewing machine yet.

“Most times when I’m not at my pitch I spend time with my children, checking on their health and studies. One of them is currently completing grade 11 and faces learning difficulties, he isn’t as fast as other children. My other son had an accident a while back, which led to a disability in one of his legs. I dedicate my time to their wellbeing.

“I also spend time watching the gospel channel, Dumisa. I love gospel music. It motivates me to keep strong for my family and trust in the good Lord.”


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