Words and Photography: Yonga Balfour
Tony Matengezana has been part of the Big Issue family for over a decade. Over the years, the organisation has afforded him the opportunity to earn an honest living and provide for himself and his family.
“I stay in Delft. Although I don’t have any children, my income goes towards taking care of myself and my family. Sometimes, this includes spoiling my older brother because he always has my back,” smiles Tony.
Tony shares his pitch on Campground Road in Newlands with another Big Issue entrepreneur. “My colleague and I have a very good working relationship. There’s no unhealthy competition between us, as we understand that we are both here to earn a living for ourselves,” he says.
In recent months, Newlands has seen a buzz of activity due to the cricket season, much to Tony’s delight. The cricket has been drawing spectactors by their thousands, which has improved Tony’s magazine sales.
“Unlike my colleagues, who have pitches in the Cape Town central business district, I don’t usually have access to that many tourists who often buy our magazine. The current cricket season has been good for business as I managed to sell copies of the magazine to several new customers.”
While Tony enjoys being self-employed as a Big Issue entrepreneur, he hopes to find permanent employment.
“Being an entrepreneur is nice, you have your independence, but it’s not easy and profits aren’t always guaranteed. Earning a permanent salary would bring more stability to my life. I wouldn’t mind gaining more work place experience in the formal sector. Having said that, being an entrepreneur will always be an option to fall back on,” Tony concludes.
We need your help
“Tony would appreciate any assistance with entry level job opportunities. If you can assist him, please contact The Big Issue on (021) 461 6690.”