My wish is for them to be well-educated because life becomes more difficult if you are uneducated.
Right now I am a carer. But I don’t want to die a carer. It’s something I want to do until I can continue studying in healthcare. My dream is to become a nurse. This is something I always used to share with my mother. I have an opportunity to study nursing full-time at Kayamandi Elderly College in Wynberg. They teach nursing there and they help people who have been carers become nurses. But the course costs R19 000, which is a very big problem. But I’m hoping to find a way.
Nondinaye Tyalisi speaks softly – but you’re missing out if you choose not to listen because her good nature’s worth the extra effort. She’s bright, thoughtful, and, in keeping with the best Big Issue tradition, she hopes selling the magazine will be a springboard to a career – in her case, nursing. We spoke to her about her background and goals.
“Originally, I’m from the Eastern Cape – Tutura location in the district of Centane. I like it there, but I left after I got married because my husband got sick on and off with TB and my sister-in-law advised me to come to Cape Town to look after him. He was working here in Cape Town at The River Club, driving the machine that collects golf balls.
Growing up in the Eastern Cape was great. I attended school there and I never knew anything else or any other place. I grew up with my mother and two brothers. My mother was always there but my father was in Joburg working as a miner. We saw him only two or three times a year. My mother was a mother and a father at the same time.
It affected me a lot not having my father. I didn’t finish school because my mother was really sick and I had to look after her.
My mother recently passed away and I am now the only woman in the family. I’m still in touch with my father but I miss my mother a lot. I’m staying very near one brother so we usually see each other a lot. My other brother is in the Eastern Cape.
I met my husband in the Christmas holidays in 1994. I thought he was just a visitor. Me and my cousins were having a get-together and that’s where I met this tall guy and we had a little chat. Then in January I was going into Grade Nine and he came to visit me at school.
We got married nearly four years later, but we saw each other only twice a year over the holidays because he was already working at the club. We managed to stay close, writing to each other, and we have two daughters.
My husband got sick in 2004 – he’s better now but he’s no longer working at the club.
In 2005, I found a job in Ottery at Amelia Jackson Industries, weaving mats. I learnt a lot working with people from different cultures but left in 2013 when my contract was not renewed. In 2014, I came to The Big Issue after a friend told me about it and because I needed money.
When I’m selling I greet everyone with a smile, even if they don’t want to buy. I remember to be polite to the people I see at my pitch so that I never make The Big Issue look bad.”