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:  Corner of Buitengracht and Strand, Cape Town


What do you want for your children?

I want them to get good educations.

What do you want for yourself?

I want to be a nurse and to start with home-based care. I know where I want to go in life.

Siphokazi Magobiyane

Courage comes in several guises. Some forms are so conspicuously sweet and gentle that at first glance, one may not recognise the bravery. Siphokazi Magobiyane fits that bill: iron wrapped in satin. This kind, gracious woman spent years recovering from one body blow after the next but still manages to feed her children, do her job and find a little extra to treat others with respect. We spoke to her about her life that, although littered with painful events, has forged a remarkable spirit.

“I’m from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape, from a close family. My parents raised me there but they both passed away from TB in June 1988. This was very hard.

I was 16 years old when they died and I came to stay with my grandmother in Cape Town. I had three sisters, two later died from TB in 2008 – one in February and the other in August. I also had TB in the past and so did my surviving sister. But God looked out for us. I don’t know why my parents and sisters died, they used the TB treatment. I prayed to God about how to get through this because only God can help us.

I was married in 1992 and have two children, one boy and one girl. I went to stay in the Eastern Cape with my husband back then until 1996. My husband and I were fighting, so my children and I left him in the Eastern Cape and came to Cape Town to stay with my grandmother, and went back to school.

I went to high school in Cape Town until Grade 11, but had to leave school and look for a job because my grandmother passed away.

Packing bricks was my first job after leaving school. I did that for one year but it was a hard job. Then I was a cashier at Metro Cash & Carry in Khayelitsha from 2000 to 2003. After that I had a security job in Khayelitsha for three years.

I then sold hangers in the road from 2006 to 2008. But I didn’t have a permit so I came here to The Big Issue.

I sell The Big Issue so that I can provide food and clothes for my children and when I sell the magazine I always smile and greet my customers. The best part for me is to provide for my family. And I think I’m a good seller.”

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