What would you like to achieve this year?
I hope to open up my own spaza shop one day. Hopefully in five years I will be able to sell more than just food. My real passion is clothes. But I want to start small and build from there.
Is there a motto you live by?
Yes. I believe in always planning ahead. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Any new year’s resolutions?
This year I would like to become more fluent in English. I plan to read the subtitles when watching TV, and to practise with my friends and family.
Eric Kina is fairly new to The Big Issue – he’s been working with us for just over a year – but he has already become a favourite with both his customers and his fellow vendors. We sat down with our latest Vendor of
the Month to find out about his journey to The Big Issue… and beyond.
I’m originally from the Eastern Cape, but I made my way to Cape Town in 1983. Being from the township, I thought the city offered exciting work opportunities and a better life.
Before joining The Big Issue, I worked in construction and then at a company manufacturing bricks. I don’t want to make excuses, because I believe that where there is a will to survive there is a way, but I must admit that it hasn’t been easy for me to hold down a stable job.
I don’t have many skills and left school at an early age, so I didn’t have many options when it came to employment opportunities – but you make do with what you have. I try to make the best of my situation and always strive for more.
I have also worked some odd jobs here and there – having some income is better than having no income. I am proud to say that with the help of my wife, I have raised three children, who are working and out of the home.
Selling The Big Issue has been great, because I get to do something that I like. It’s also not hard labour because let’s face it, I am getting older and cannot do the heavy lifting I used to do in the past.
I enjoy being around so many different people and being able to communicate with them, even if it’s just a smile.
It is a great highlight to be chosen as Vendor of the Month, because I will get to see myself and my story in the magazine. I will feel like a celebrity. I hope my customers like me and continue to buy from me in the future. I would like to thank all of my loyal customers, and I always welcome more.