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:  Protea Rd, Claremont
AGE:  40


What are you most proud of?
My family: my wife and four children. I am also proud of my home. I enjoy spending time with my family and I take pride in fixing up my home.

What is your creature comfort?
I love food. A full meal always makes me feel good after a tough day. Meat, veggies, pap and all my wife’s wonderful creations. She is the best cook.

Xolani Nkomithyoboza

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Xolani Nkomithyoboza is well known at The Big Issue office for his wide smile and energetic spirit. He always seems to be in a good mood, and that’s why he’s been selected as our November Vendor of the Month.

Xolani started selling The Big Issue in 2009, after he lost his job as a general worker for a small company. He had been working there for three years, but they could no longer afford to pay him and
were forced to let him go.

A humble, hardworking man, Xolani isn’t one to complain. He quickly made his way to The Big Issue after hearing about it from his brother-in-law, and he has been selling the magazine ever since. We sat down with this vibrant vendor to find out a little more about his journey.

Let me start off by saying thank you. First to my customers for all their support, and then to The Big Issue staff for being willing to help people like me every day. If it weren’t for you, I would be starving right now.

I came to Cape Town in search of greener pastures – much like everyone else. Before coming here in 2005, I lived in Durban. I loved living there because it is such a beautiful place, but I had a tiling job that just wasn’t paying enough. I could barely pay my rent, much less afford to eat.

Coming to Cape Town was the best decision I made. I enjoy selling the magazine and I think I’m good at it.

There are certain golden rules I always follow in order to sell well. I think that having a good attitude is important. Life is all about perspective, and I choose to look at the positive things about selling the magazine: I get to meet loads of different people every day and I am blessed to be able to make money and support my family. My number-two rule is that bad moods belong at home. I never bring a bad mood to my pitch because it makes things hard for everyone. My last rule is to always respect others, even if they do not respect me. I usually let the negative things go; life is too short to be upset about things people say. Words only hurt if you let them.

I try to smile every day because I think that the world needs some light. With all the crime and all the nasty things happening, we need some happiness in our lives. I think my customers appreciate seeing a smile when they stop by. I am grateful for the opportunity to sell the magazine and provide for my family.
It makes me happy.

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