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:  51

SHOOTING FROM THE HIP

“My grandmother once said to me that there is no formula to raising children. She told me to not expect miracles, but instead to do the best I can to provide my children with a stable, safe and loving home.”

Nocwaka Mbeki

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Nocwaka’s big push

Words: Lungisa Mnqwazi

Photo: Lungisa Mnqwazi

Being a single mother is twice the work, double the stress and twice the tears, but also double the hugs, love and pride. Fifty-one-year-old Nocwaka Mbeki is fighting against all odds to be the pillar of her household.

The Samora Machel resident is the sole breadwinner for her five kids, one of whom has a disability.

“When I came here (Cape Town) in 1990 I wanted to better my life, but things changed for the worse when I lost my husband in 2003. I had to take up his responsibilities and provide for our three children,” says Nocwaka.

She left her home in the Eastern Cape to seek greener pastures in the Mother City. “I remember coming here as a young girl and later met the love of my life, which made my life a living fairy tale but God decided to take him,” she says.

Her life is not easy at all; she can’t afford to complete the construction of her house due to financial difficulties.

“My husband was my pillar of strength. I feel the void without him, because the house would have been completed a long time ago if he was still here,” she says.

Nocwaka is taking strain in raising her disabled son who depends solely on her for assistance. “I have learnt that being a single parent is many things, but it is not failure. I am not ashamed of my situation; in fact it has made me a stronger and better person. I’ll take care of my son.

“My grandmother once said to me that there is no formula to raising children. She told me to not expect miracles, but instead to do the best I can to provide my children with a stable, safe and loving home.”

Prior to selling The Big Issue, Nocwaka sold vegetables from her house. “I decided to leave that, because I was not making money anymore and more stores were selling vegetables at cheaper prices.

“A friend of mine introduced me to the magazine, because she could see how I was struggling. I depended on my kids’ social and disability grants to make a living. But since I started selling the magazine in 2008, a lot has changed in terms of providing for my family.

“My daughter has a diploma in business management and has been struggling to find employment. My dream is to see her working, because that would mean we have an extra income at home,” Nocwaka concludes.

 

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