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:  Newlands Avenue, Claremont
AGE:  23


What motivates you to keep going when you’re feeling low?
I like to remind myself that I can do all things. The Bible says that you can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you. I say that to myself during tough times and it usually gets me up and ready to take on the challenges in my life.

What do you do to unwind after a hectic day?
I listen to jazz. It always puts me in a mellow mood. I am a huge fan of Hugh Masekela.

Pheliswa Ntloko

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Pheliswa is originally from the Eastern Cape, but moved to Cape Town in 2012 in search of a job. She hasn’t had much luck in the job search as she has only Grade 11, so she started selling The Big Issue in April this year. She hopes that, after reading her story, people will visit her and buy the magazine.

I have always been a serious person. People ask me if I am angry because I don’t often smile, but since I joined
The Big Issue I’ve made a point of smiling and having a good attitude. I’ve heard that a positive, upbeat attitude helps in this line of work.

Before joining The Big Issue, I worked as a cleaner for a corporate company. I enjoyed the job because it was a stable income. The contract expired and I had to move on to find other work. My cousin had already been a Big Issue vendor and told me about the magazine. Despite my reservations, I decided to give it a go.

I have never been a good ‘people person’. I am an introvert, quiet and shy. Meeting new people is at times daunting. I had to overcome my fears in order to survive. I stay on my own in Mfuleni and I am supporting myself.

Selling the magazine is quite hard. It hurts when people don’t buy from me. I take it personally and feel disappointed when people don’t acknowledge me. I haven’t been making many sales, but I am trying each day to do better. I have picked up a few helpful tips from my fellow vendors. I share my pitch with four other vendors. I usually watch them to see what they do and what works for them. I think in time I will improve.

I don’t want to sell the magazine forever. I would like to become a nurse one day, and I would like to complete my schooling and study further. I am hoping to make a success of my life. At the moment I am working hard to support myself and get back on my feet. I know that one day I will reach my goals and be happy.

I would like to thank The Big Issue, my customers and also my fellow vendors for being like a family to me. I am still finding my feet in the organisation, but everyone has been so helpful and supportive. Each day I feel motivated to go to my pitch, as my struggles are only temporary.

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