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:  Canal Walk, Entrance 4 (Pick n Pay)
AGE:  36


What’s your best quality?
I think that I am loving. I never thought I would be a mother and when I had my children I felt this overwhelming love for them. I like that my heart has the capacity to love like this.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I’m a single mom. I have many super-powers: I can read minds, I have eyes at the back of my head, I can make vegetables taste like ice cream. (Laughs.)

Ntombekhaya Phandle

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Ntombekhaya Phandle has been a Big Issue vendor for eight years, but she started selling the magazine at Canal Walk only in 2012. Having joined The Big Issue to make some extra money for her family, Ntombekhaya began to rely on her sales when she became a single mom. We find out about her journey as a vendor…

Before joining The Big Issue, I worked as a cleaner in an office block. At the time, I was young and not really interested in the job because I didn’t need it, but now I would love a job like that.

I joined The Big Issue in 2007 and have been selling the magazine ever since.

I enjoy selling the magazine very much. It boosts my confidence when I make a sale. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that I get from making sales. I also enjoy speaking to people on a daily basis.

There are a few tricks that I use to get through a tough day, and these really help me. I kind of trick my brain into being happy by telling myself that I am on cloud nine. I also do a lap around the mall and window-shop. It’s fun to see all the beautiful things. It usually gets me out of my funk.

Selling the magazine at the mall is such a blessing. I don’t have to worry about the rain because I am inside a building, and I enjoy the amount of traffic I get. There are loads of people passing me and many of them are interested in finding out about The Big Issue. The best thing about the mall is that there are no traffic lights, so I do not have to rush. I can take as much time as the customer allows to make a sale.

I think this move [to Canal Walk] has improved my sales so much. Before, I wasn’t selling as much but now I sell more magazines a day than I used to.

I am always looking for [permanent] work, though, because I know that selling the magazine is not meant to be a forever solution. Right now it is a big help to me and my two children.

Being a single mom is not always easy, but I am willing to do as much as I can to support my family. My children are very important and their education and wellbeing is my number-one priority.

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