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:  Meadowridge Centre, Plumstead
AGE:  52


What do you do to relax after work?
I visit my friends and then go home and spend time in prayer.

What do you like most about yourself?
I don’t know, I think I like my calm spirit. I don’t like confrontation and fights. I am a peaceful person. I like that about myself.

Michael Magolwane

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Michael Magolwane was washing cars and selling trinkets at the robots at Meadowridge Centre when he saw a lady selling The Big Issue 14 years ago. He asked her about it, decided to sign up and has been a Big Issue vendor ever since. We found out about his journey so far…

I have never been interested in making a lot of money. When I was younger, I became Rastafari and this faith opened my eyes to the world and what it means to live in it. I don’t believe in acquiring wealth or material things.

I try to live a good life, a humble life. I no longer practise the faith fully but I do believe that we are all the same and
we need to love one another.

Selling the magazine is perfect for me, because it helps me to get by. I live by myself in my family home in Nyanga East but my brothers and sisters visit often.

Cape Town has always been my home – I was born here and grew up here. I have never wanted to leave or explore. I like being around my family and friends.

Being a vendor for 14 years has made my sales more predictable as I have many regular customers. I hardly see
huge increases in sales – I think it’s because I am so comfortable with the faces I already know that I don’t make an effort with new faces. However, I am trying to mix up my sales techniques a bit now so that I can meet new customers.

Smiling definitely helps. I’ve been smiling more often and just being humble and grateful to have a job I like. It helps to think about all the blessings and be thankful.

I never miss a day of work because I believe that working hard is important. I am at my pitch rain or shine and I think my customers appreciate that about me.

If I could give young vendors advice, I would say: ‘Stay humble. Treat everyone you meet with love and respect and you will be okay. Selling the magazine is all about being hopeful. If you are hopeful then you open yourself up to good things.’

My faith helps me through the bad days. I don’t see myself as poor. I may not have a lot of money but I have a lot of things that can’t be measured. Inside I know that we are all equal because we were made by Jah.

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