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:  Cape Town
AGE:  41

SHOOTING FROM THE HIP

Future Plans

“I’m skilled in knitting and have trained children from my community before. I’d like to take up a knitting and sewing course as soon as I complete the security course that I started.

“My dream is to be a role model for my child and grandchild, and I pray they too reach their greatest potential in life. My daughter wants to be a social worker when she completes her studies.”

Noluthando Nombeleko

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Noluthando takes the lead

Words and photography: YONGA BALFOUR

“I’m originally from Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape. I came to Cape Town in 1999 to seek employment and became a Big Issue entrepreneur in 2002, after being unemployed for three years.

“It has been an amazing journey working for myself. I have become a domestic worker for a few of my Big Issue customers. During my leave, I still sell the magazine on my pitch as I’m so used to being an entrepreneur.

“Being part of The Big Issue has helped me to use money wisely and know how to grow my earnings. As a result, I have managed to  open a small fruit and vegetable business, which operates on days that I’m not at my pitch.”

Duty Calls

“I have a good working relationship with my customers, who are mostly young people. It’s easy to relate to them as they are around the same age as my daughter. We talk about everything, share jokes and I even dance for them.

“I’m a person with a happy personality; you’d hardly find me grumpy. I guess that’s why my sales are always good. It’s not always rosy though. Some days are better than others, but it’s how this business operates – I can’t complain.

“When a new issue is out, I run out of stock before the day even ends. For example, the issue with a cat on the cover [issue #252 April to May] made a lot of sales. Our readers enjoy reading about animals; sometimes I still see that issue inside their cars when they buy a new copy of The Big Issue.”

Future Plans

“I’m skilled in knitting and have trained children from my community before. I’d like to take up a knitting and sewing course as soon as I complete the security course that I started.

“My dream is to be a role model for my child and grandchild, and I pray they too reach their greatest potential in life. My daughter wants to be a social worker when she completes her studies.”

WE NEED YOUR HELP

The Big Issue appeals to all public space and shopping mall owners, managers and operators in the greater Cape Metro area to allow our vendors to sell the magazines at their sites.

It can be hazardous and physically exhausting to sell magazines at traffic light intersections. We would like to see more vendors selling the magazine in a safer environment. For more information, email md@bigissue.org.za.

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