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

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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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