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:  Riverside Mall in Rondebosch
AGE:  33


One of the things I enjoy the most about being a Big Issue entrepreneur is that I am in charge of my time. Working for myself has helped me learn to manage my time well, so much so that I’d be able to do with a second job. A second job would help me to grow my finances so that I can do my driver’s licence. I know how to drive, but I need the official documentation; after The Big Issue, I hope to become a truck driver.

Mqondeni Nofatyelana

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“I come from Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape and moved to Cape Town in 2007. Port St Johns was ripe with poverty, so I came here to seek employment. I was introduced to The Big Issue in 2009 by my uncle, a former vendor. Before I started selling the magazine, I used to do odd jobs around  the city.

It hasn’t been an easy journey being a vendor, but it’s worth it. I put food on the table for my family and we never go to bed on empty stomachs. Being a vendor is like owning a business – today business is booming and tomorrow it’s on a slow down.


During my free time, I’m involved in sports – soccer in particular – and I listen to gospel music. I’m really good at soccer and I love sharing my skill with others.

I coach boys’ soccer in Phillippi, where I live. I believe that sport is more than just the game and winning, it’s about respect, team building, leadership and trust. I would love to see the boys that I train off the streets, having something to look forward to and polish their skills. I wish nothing but the best for them, as I do my own children.

My children are still too young, so they are not involved in sports yet, but I want them to be educated and not miss out on opportunities like I did. My parents died while I was young; I was unable finish school as I had to provide for my family. Not everyone is fortunate to make it big in life without education and that’s one of the main reasons why I want my kids to finish school. Education is a gift and no one can take it away from you.”

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