Big Issue vendor Sive Mondile is doing everything he can to ensure his future is secure, even if it means going back to school after many years.
Like any other young man, 26-year old Sive Mondile is striving for success. He hasn’t had it easy, but through prayer and a strong faith background, he is reclaiming his life one step at a time. “My life is a journey on its own, and I have learned to be patient and persistent,” says Sive.
He grew up without his parents; his mother passed away when he was young, and he reached adulthood under the guidance of his grandfather. “I don’t have any connection with my paternal family because they never showed any interest in being a part of my life.
“My grandfather depended on his social grant to feed and clothe me and my siblings, so I had no choice but to drop out in Grade 8 to assist him with the heavy load of responsibilities. Leaving home in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape in search of greener pastures in 2014 was not easy by any means, but I had to gather courage and strength to face the world on my own.”
When Sive arrived in Cape Town, he met up with Zuko Pholo, another courageous Big Issue vendor who is also his mentor. “When I came here I did odd jobs for a year, and in early 2015 Zuko insisted that I should become self-employed by joining him in selling The Big Issue. I could see that he was progressing in life and that he was his own boss, so it was easy for me to follow in his footsteps,” says Sive.
Sive says selling the magazine has enabled him to provide for his family.
“I’m the sole breadwinner at home, so everyone depends on me to put food on the table. The income that I make from selling the publication is enough at the moment, but I wish I could save some money to improve my future through furthering my education.”
Growing up, Sive wanted to be an engineer. He couldn’t pursue that dream, due to his home circumstances. Now he is determined to return to school and later enrol at a tertiary institution. “I would love to have the opportunity to study again and be able to earn more income for my family. Right now, I make enough money from my magazine sales, but as time goes by and with the escalation of costs and personal responsibilities, I won’t be able to provide for my family for too much longer.”
Sive happily sells the magazine on his pitch near Longbeach Mall in Sun Valley, and is well aware of the economic and political climate in South Africa.
While political parties are campaigning for the upcoming elections, he is not convinced by their promises of creating a better life.
“The upcoming elections mean nothing to me because I don’t see any change in the lives of poor South Africans. The government is doing nothing to create employment opportunities for everyone – the educated and the illiterate. Why empower another man to feed his stomach only?”
He holds onto his faith in God nonetheless. “I believe that everything in our lives is happening according to God’s will, and He will never forsake me in any situation. I decided to leave my worldly things behind and become a servant of the Almighty,” he concludes optimistically.