"Soon I will be old and unable to stand on the streets and sell the publication. Hence, I would love to get a permanent job, work for a couple of years and save some money for retirement."
Words: Lungisa Mnqwazi
We often hear stories of mothers being single parents, but Mjongeni Malanti (53), is a single father who is defying all stereotypes when it comes to raising his children on his own.
The Khayelitsha resident pushes himself to break the bonds of poverty by selling The Big Issue in Orange Street, Cape Town.
“I’m a father of two children. My first-born is 28 years old and stays in the Eastern Cape. My second-born, Samkelo (23), is studying occupational therapy at the University of the Western Cape. He is a brilliant student and received a bursary. He has made it despite our circumstances; I’m so proud of him,” says Mjongeni.
A former property caretaker, Mjongeni started selling The Big Issue in 1998.
He complements his income by doing odd jobs and selling photo frames.
“I have had several temporary jobs since I started selling the magazine. Sometimes I would have to stop selling it because I was working full time. What I love about The Big Issue, though, is that you are never neglected, even when you find temporary employment. You can come back and sell again as long as the organisation knows that you are making ends meet.”
Mjongeni is an avid photographer, although unfortunately he no longer owns a camera because he was robbed on his way to a client in Khayelitsha. He also enjoys repairing electrical appliances. “I’m a jack of all trades. I am a fast learner and can perform any duty. Over the years, I’ve gained many skills. I also have a broad general knowledge for fixing electrical appliances and being a property caretaker,” he adds.
While Mjongeni has been grateful for the opportunity to sell The Big Issue for nearly 21 years, he is planning for his future.
“Soon I will be old and unable to stand on the streets and sell the publication. Hence, I would love to get a permanent job, work for a couple of years and save some money for retirement. My kids are old enough and they don’t have many needs anymore. Once I retire, I will go back to the Eastern Cape and spend time with my mother.”
We need your help
Mjongeni would like to study photography and work at a newspaper. He would appreciate a permanent job as a handy man so that he can provide for his mother in the Eastern Cape. If you can help him in any way, please contact The Big Issue office on 021 461 6690 or firstname.lastname@example.org.