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:  Paradise Road, Claremont
AGE:  36

SHOOTING FROM THE HIP

“My life has not been an easy ride. Dropping out in Grade 11 forced me to relocate from Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape to the Mother City in 2002 to seek a better life,” says Ntobeko.

Ntobeko Makaula

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Perseverance is a great element of success. It is also one characteristic that sets 36-year-old Ntobeko Makaula apart from many of his peers.

The Big Issue vendor sells the magazine in the morning from his pitch in Newlands, and then spends his afternoons in class. Ntobeko is doing his second year of an Information Technology (IT) diploma course at Boston College.

Armed with the attitude of a go-getter, he has been knocking long and hard at the gate of success and is determined to make his dreams a reality.

“My life has not been an easy ride. Dropping out in Grade 11 forced me to relocate from Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape to the Mother City in 2002 to seek a better life,” says Ntobeko.

Shortly after his arrival in Cape Town, Ntobeko found employment in the fishing department at Irvin & Johnson (I&J), but was retrenched a year or so later. He then used his savings to pay for a security course, which paved the way for a job as a security officer at Thorburn Security Solutions. During this time he successfully completed his matric by attending Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) classes when he was not working the night shift.

A BRIGHTER FUTURE

In 2015, Ntobeko resigned from his job to focus on his studies. “After resigning at Thorburn Security Solutions, I used my UIF and provident fund money to pay for an 18-month IT course, for which I obtained A+ and N+ accreditation,” he says.

His interest in studying did not end there and he went on to pursue a three-year diploma in IT, specialising in network systems. “My interest to study grew and I decided to enrol for a course that is recognised and to expand my employment options. My course will be finished in June next year.”

Juggling between selling the magazine at the Paradise Road and M3 traffic intersection in the morning and attending college in the afternoon is not without its challenges. Ntobeko always reminds himself that completing his studies will enable him to secure a brighter future for himself and his two children.

He welcomes any financial assistance from the public to help pay for his college tuition. While he manages to pay for his transport and some of his books, he is struggling to cover his fees.

“Just selling the magazine is not enough to cater for my kids’ needs and mine. The money I’m making is not enough and it will never be enough, hence I’m making smart moves to ensure that I’m able to provide for my kids without any financial stress. If I can’t finish my diploma, that could destroy my future plans,” he adds.

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