The Big Issue #253

  • 25 May to 24 June 2017
We have launched The Big Issue Winter Drive and invite all our readers to round up their relatives and friends to knit scarves, blankets and beanies for our valued vendors. Our aim is to have all our vendors sporting your fluffy creations on Tuesday, 18 July, which is International Mandela Day. See page 18 for more details on how you can get involved.

Talking about Mandela Day, philanthropist Carolyn Steyn shares details of her journey with the 67 Blankets initiative, which she founded to honour the memory of the late Nelson Mandela.

If you’re looking for inspiration to do good this month, you’re in for a big treat. This issue is packed with stories of inspirational people and initiatives that are making a difference in people’s lives and contributing to nature conservation.

First up is Janice Ashby, founder of The Rhinos are Coming!!! initiative that involves (for now) eight life-sized rhinos that are turning the spotlight on rhino poaching in South Africa. Another outstanding individual featured in this issue is entrepreneur Buhle Sithola, who is taking the big screen, solar-powered cinema-in-a-box to underprivileged communities in Khayelitsha.

We’ve also rounded up a variety of things to see and do to help you unwind. Don’t forget to pull out our Little Issue feature and share it with your kids. We wouldn’t want your children to miss out on any of the fun.


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  • Feature
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Progress Cembi

Our vendor of the month, Progress Cembi, 46, sells The Big Issue at Cavendish Square, Claremont. He tells us about his journey as a Big Issue entrepreneur.

Nonceba’s rise to the top

The Big Issue plays a vital role in the development of its vendors’ skills and talents. Nonceba Sondlo, a former vendor, is now living her dream of being an early childhood development educator, thanks to this magazine.

Grant Clark and the travelling book

Cape Town cyclist Grant Clark shares how his love for cycling and reading led him on an epic journey from Cairo to Cape Town to raise awareness and funds for childhood literacy.

The hemp house with heart

South Africa’s first township hemp house is cool in summer, warm in winter and emits the fragrance of grass and nature.


Crime novelist Irna van Zyl’s seven-year journey to getting published was not an easy one. After countless rewrites, several rejection letters from publishers, and taking a sabbatical in between, she released her debut novel, which is not so dead in the water.

Maureen and her cats

When we first heard of Maureen Gericke, a pensioner in Gardens, and the city cats she’s been looking after for 17 years, we couldn’t resist the urge to share this love story with our readers.

Nomme 20 Delphistraat

Shirmoney Rhode, author of Nomme 20 Delphistraat, writes about her small beginnings and inspiration, and finding her voice as a young writer from the Cape Flats.

The Big Debate: Traditional vs self-publishing

The Big Debate: Traditional vs self-publishing For some people the dream of being published can be weighed down by the realisation of just how difficult achieving […]

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