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.
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AGE:  46

SHOOTING FROM THE HIP

I wish that the Canal Walk centre management would reconsider its decision, as my government grant isn’t enough. I also wish to see my clients soon. If I had to choose between going back to my old spot and getting financial help, I’d choose to go back to selling the magazine because I loved my job.

Kobus Smith

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“I joined The Big Issue seven and a half years ago. It has been a wonderful experience. It empowered me as a paralysed man and gave me hope. I’ve been in a wheelchair for 26 years now after a life-changing accident in 1991. I fell out of a moving bakkie, which affected my spinal cord. My clients have been really supportive and friendly. I’m really grateful.

I live in Milnerton and used to sell The Big Issue at Canal Walk in Century City. Being an entrepreneur gave me hope. This was recently stripped away when the management of Canal Walk changed its policy on allowing vendors to sell the magazine from its premises.

This has been very frustrating to me. I am emotionally, mentally and financially drained by all of this. I was not bugging anyone. I’m in a wheelchair, making an honest living. Nowadays, I just sit at home, watch television and think about how I will get by and pay my rent. Over-thinking is not good for anyone’s health. I have no one to rely on, as I lost my wife and we had no children. My brothers don’t make much money either.

I could possibly sell the magazine elsewhere, but getting there would be difficult, as there’s no affordable specialised transportation for people in my condition. Getting to Canal Walk from Milnerton was easy, as I would just ride my wheelchair from home to work and back again. I feel disempowered after this eviction. I feel that my rights have been violated.

I wish that the Canal Walk centre management would reconsider its decision, as my government grant isn’t enough. I also wish to see my clients soon. If I had to choose between going back to my old spot and getting financial help, I’d choose to go back to selling the magazine because I loved my job.”

The Big Issue appeals to any public space or shopping mall owners or managers in the Milnerton and surrounding areas, who are willing to permit Kobus to sell the magazine from their premises, to email md@bigissue.org.za.

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