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:  Beach Road, Sea Point
AGE:  45


What is your favourite hobby?
I love listening to music. I am sure people have noticed that I usually have my earphones in my ears. I listen to anything, but I love gospel and a lot of jazz.

What’s your best feature?
Physically it would have to be my eyes, I have been told they are quite dreamy [laughs].

Do you think you would ever get married again?
I think that right now I am too focused on myself. As a woman in the township you are taught to find a man and get married, but I think that women should find themselves first.

Lindelwa Mtsi

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Lindelwa Mtsi may come across as shy and quiet – but that’s only because she doesn’t speak English very well. Once you start talking to this vibrant Big Issue vendor, you’ll find that she’s quite the opposite: talkative, with a great sense of humour. More importantly, Lindelwa is a woman on a mission. Her plan of action is simple and specific: to improve her life, one short course at a time. We find out how she’s doing…

I first joined The Big Issue in 2010. My ex-husband had been a vendor and when I lost my cleaning job, he told me
to give The Big Issue a go.

I sold the magazine for many years, thinking that there’s nothing better out there for someone like me. When you grow up with little, you don’t have high expectations. I didn’t expect much from my husband and, worst of all, myself.

I thought very little of myself and didn’t dare to think of a future. Seeing other vendors realise their dreams made me also want to dream. They are just like me, and yet they worked hard to make their dreams come true.

When my husband and I split two years ago, I decided to make the most of my life. I spoke to the social worker at The Big Issue and signed up to do a few short courses. I have completed a computer course, a home-based care course and a sewing course.

I am very proud of all my accomplishments and I am happy to be improving myself. I honestly never thought I would be capable of doing so much. I want to be an example to my children and also to other women who think that they are less than amazing.

Selling the magazine is not a job for me. It’s something I enjoy doing, because it gets me out of the house and keeps me focused on my goal. My goal is to find a job, any job. I don’t know what it is that I would like to do, but I am having fun figuring it out.

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