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:  Cnr Old Oak and Durban Road (Tygervalley), Belville
AGE:  40


What do you like most in Cape Town?
I like Table Mountain. I think it is beautiful. I’d like to go up the mountain someday.

What do you do to unwind after a long day on your pitch?
I switch on the radio, make a cup of coffee and listen to the sports update.

What’s your favourite sport?
I like soccer. I used to play back in the day. I was really good. Now I just watch my favourite team, the Orlando Pirates.

Fezile Ntshebe

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Fezile Ntshebe first joined The Big Issue in February this year, after losing his job as a security guard. His cousin, previous Vendor of the Month Elliot Bloom, had told him about The Big Issue and when he lost his job he decided to take Elliot’s advice and become a vendor.

Being new to The Big Issue, Fezile needs all the support he can get. Catch him at his pitch every day – Monday to Sunday – from 09h00 to 17h00. In the meantime, here’s a bit about him:

I worked as a security guard for a year, but I was on contract the entire time. The contract expired and my employer couldn’t afford to renew it. I was worried for a while because finding a job is very difficult these days.

I’ve worked many odd jobs in my time here in Cape Town. I’m originally from the Eastern Cape, but moved to Cape Town in search of work and greener pastures in 2004. It hasn’t been easy being away from my family, but I try to support them with the money I earn selling the magazine.

I am currently supporting my sister’s two children. They live in Johannesburg with her. I am staying on my own in Khayelitsha. I am not married and do not have children. That is why I have decided to help my sister whenever I can.

Selling the magazine hasn’t been easy for me because I am not used to it. Some days go well and other days are not nice for me, but I tell myself that things can only get better with time. I enjoy interacting with people and making my own hours. When I worked as a security guard, the hours I worked were unpredictable and the nature of the job was dangerous.

I am happy to be selling the magazine, but wouldn’t be opposed to a job. I do not want to be a security guard again, but I don’t have experience in much else. I have worked only in construction before and I’ve helped an electrical contractor as a general worker.

At the moment I share a pitch with my cousin, Elliot. I really enjoy being around him. There are plenty of cars, which means we have more than enough business between the two of us. He is fairly used to the job so I take all my cues from him. I like that he knows how everything works and that he shares his tips and tricks with me.

I would like to thank all my regular customers for their support and for their friendly smiles. It has been wonderful getting to know them. I can’t wait to meet new customers and build on my regular customer base.

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