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:  Cnr Glengariff and Main Rd, Sea Point
AGE:  53


Shadrack Rolihlahla

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Life hasn’t been easy for Shadrack Rolihlahla. But those who know him can attest to his deep, throaty laugh, witty comments and all-round zest for life. We found out about his journey so far…

In 1998, I was involved in a major car accident. My brother was driving when a tire burst. He lost control of the car and it rolled. That was the scariest moment of my life. I thought I was going to die. I broke both of my legs, was in and out of hospital and couldn’t hold down a decent job. I started begging to make money when a woman saw me and took me to The Big Issue offices. I became a vendor in the year 2000.

I am in constant pain because of the accident. I manage the pain with pills and loads of prayer, but there have been days when I felt like staying in bed and giving up.

Before the accident, I worked as a security guard and, later, as a forklift driver. After the accident, I transported children to and from school. I stopped driving because my PDP license expired and I couldn’t afford to have it renewed.

The Big Issue has been my saving grace over the last 15 years. If it wasn’t for them I would be begging on the streets. It’s been nearly impossible to find work since the accident because I can’t stand for too long and now my age also counts against me.

Selling the magazine hasn’t been easy. At first I thought I’d have to quit because I couldn’t manage to stand all day long, but the wonderful people around my pitch helped me by giving me a chair to sit on and offering to keep it safe for me.

My customers are kind, as are the people I interact with each day. They motivate me to keep smiling and do my best. I wouldn’t be here without them and my God.

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