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:  Beach Road in Sea Point
AGE:  

SHOOTING FROM THE HIP

Xolani is a family-oriented man and would bend over backwards to provide for his wife and kids. I believe in providing for my family, which is why I’m at my pitch every day, even on weekends, unless the magazine is a bit old – it doesn’t make many sales when it’s an old issue.

Xolani Nyengane

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Words and Photography by Yonga Balfour

Xolani hails from the small town of Debe Nek near King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape. He came to Cape Town seeking employment in 2010 and discovered The Big Issue.

I moved to this city during the FIFA World Cup to find employment, but unfortunately I couldn’t find anything. That’s when I started selling The Big Issue,” says Xolani.

I couldn’t complain much about not finding a job. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and it was a great time then to be selling the magazine. The atmosphere of the city in 2010 made it easy to make profits. Tourists loved it and that meant I could provide for my family.”

For Love and Money

Xolani is a family-oriented man and would bend over backwards to provide for his wife and kids.

I believe in providing for my family, which is why I’m at my pitch every day, even on weekends, unless the magazine is a bit old – it doesn’t make many sales when it’s an old issue. The magazine sells well during peak hours, and I think customers like reading when sitting in traffic.

My customers always wonder when I get time to spend with my family if I’m always at the pitch. Little do they know that I share the pitch with my wife! Our children are back home in the Eastern Cape. We have three kids, all boys; they live with our parents.

Though The Big Issue puts food on the table and enables us to save enough to visit the children now and then, it is still hard not having my boys around. In my culture, it is very important that boys have father figures in their lives for them to be better men. It’s evident this is also important in the world we live in today,” he adds.

Lend a Helping Hand

Xolani and his wife rent a shack in Philippi. They will be evicted soon as their landlord is planning on building another structure on the stand. Xolani stresses that finding a place to stay is difficult and would like help buying materials to build himself and his wife a shack or a wendy house of their own. If there is any way in which you are able to help, please get in touch with The Big Issue.

WE NEED YOUR HELP

The Big Issue appeals to all public space and shopping mall owners, managers, and operators in the greater Cape Metro area to allow our vendors to sell magazines at their sites. It can be hazardous and physically exhausting to sell The Big Issue at traffic light intersections, especially during winter. We would like to see more vendors selling the magazine in a safer environment. Email md@bigissue.org.za to get involved.

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