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:  Simon's Town
AGE:  26


We need your help

Mohammed is in a wheelchair and would like to become more active. To support him with crutches or essentials such as toiletries and clothing, contact The Big Issue office on 021 461 6690 or email

Zeid Mohammed Yusuf

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Mohammed, The New Kid On The Block

Zeid Mohammed Yusuf (26), our vendor on the pitch, sells The Big Issue near the post office in Simon’s Town. We find out what he plans to get up to this summer.

Words and photography: Yonga Balfour

“Back in Ethiopia, where I’m from, we celebrate Christmas on 7 January and it is called Genna. One of the reasons for this is that we still follow an ancient calendar that is seven years behind your normal calendar. So in my country it is 2010.

“I’ve been celebrating the summer holidays in South African style for the past few years, and I’ll keep up this tradition this year.”

Holiday Vibes

“This festive season I’m looking forward to having fun and attending a few outdoor festivals, especially the switching on of the City’s festive lights in Adderley Street. These events unite people of all nationalities, races and gender. I love seeing people happy. It brings joy and hope to my heart.

“My New Year’s wish is to have a family: a wife and kids. I know I’m young, but I want people to share my life with. I don’t have any relatives here; they are all in Ethiopia.

“I got my holiday gift four months ago when I received my residential permit. I was advised by officials at the Department of Home Affairs to approach The Big Issue for employment. I took their advice and it has been a pleasant journey selling the magazine since then.”

“Selling The Big Issue is an honest and dignified way of making a living. My customers are nice people, they are very friendly and always look forward to buying the magazine.”

Vendor bliss

“Although I am still new to selling the magazine, I enjoy working for myself and I don’t let my disability cripple me. I’m a positive person and believe that I am where I am because God wants it this way and He is always with me.

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