The Big Issue acknowledges and would like to thank the following individuals, groups and businesses for supporting Nofezile’s family in big and small ways during their time of bereavement:
- Big Issue staff members Penny Hawker Mdingi, Tracy Dunn (and her daughters Isabelle and Julia), Venessa Isaacs and Nicky Asher- Pedro
- Big Issue freelancers Elaine Mullin, Giuliana Esperanza, Rustum Carelse and Malcolm Mdingi
- Big Issue vendors in Constantia
- Joshua Fleming and the Nofezile
- Constantia Support Group
- Yebo Fresh online shopping service for providing groceries to Nofezile’s family
- Zukile Ntenda of Zukile Ntenda Funeral Services
- Sergeant Naude of SAPS Wynberg
Relatives and friends of the late Nofezile Ndabeni paid their final respects when The Big Issue vendor was laid to rest on 11 July in Ngcobo, Eastern Cape.
Words: Alicia English Image by: Supplied
Tributes have poured in for Big Issue vendor Nofezile Ndabeni, who passed away in a Constantia car accident on 30 June. Nofezile, who walked with crutches, was resting on the curb at her pitch on the corner of Alphen Drive and Main Road, Constantia, when she was hit by a car.
Born in the Eastern Cape on 10 October 1962, the 57-year-old vendor lived in Philippi with her children and grandchildren. Nofezile dedicated the past decade to selling The Big Issue magazine to her customers, and was part of a close- knit group of vendors in Constantia. She is survived by her husband, four daughters and eight grandchildren.
The Big Issue’s Penny Hawker Mdingi says Nofezile will be missed by her fellow vendors and customers alike. “She was with The Big Issue for 10 years and was a very humble, respectful person and hardworking mother and breadwinner, working to support her husband (who is sick in the Eastern Cape), and her children and grandchildren,” says Penny.
On Monday, 6 July, Big Issue vendors and staff joined Nofezile’s pastor and relatives at her pitch in Constantia to offer prayers. “The family went there to pray and put her spirit at ease,” explains Penny.
Constantia resident Joshua Fleming, one of Nofezile’s regular customers, was on the scene shortly after the accident. “I live on Alphen Drive and saw Nofezile over the years, as I often drove past her. She was the most humble and kind person. There was just something special about her. You could tell how hard she worked and the sacrifices she made
for the people she had to support. She used to be out at the traffic lights every single day, whether it was raining or in the blistering heat, she would always be there. I was inspired that she always made the effort to be there, especially considering her mobility issues,” says Joshua.
Following the accident, Joshua reached out to the Constantia community for donations in aid of Nofezile’s bereaved children and grandchildren. Residents responded to his call and helped to raise funds and other donations in support
of the family. Their donations enabled The Big Issue to arrange a dignified funeral for Nofezile and pay for the cost of transporting her family and body to Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape.
“She was a part of the Constantia community, even though she didn’t live there. Even those who didn’t know her felt so sad about her story and felt compelled to donate something,” adds Joshua.
BIG ISSUE FAMILY
Derek Carelse, managing director of The Big Issue, says the outpouring of support from Nofezile’s customers and other readers, demonstrates the tight-knit connection between the public and Big Issue vendors.
“The Big Issue family is indeed a large and caring one. It is always heart-warming to witness how much compassion is shared between a customer, magazine and vendor. Selling The Big Issue is a small but very personal business. During the exchange of a few rand for a magazine, what people feel, believe, think and above all, do, is expressed in a moment
of solidarity, which means: “I see you. I recognise you,” says Derek.
Derek expresses his gratitude for the overwhelming support received from Big Issue readers and supporters. “We thank everyone who has communicated with us; those who have contributed financially towards Nofezile’s family needs, posted via our social media channels and who spread the message about Nofezile’s tragic passing.
“A special thank you to Joshua Fleming, coordinator of the Nofezile Constantia Support Group, for his many actions of assistance and tireless efforts in working with us to ensure dignity for Nofezile, and for his on-going support for her family. And thank you too, to our very own Penny Hawker Mdingi for spending time with Nofezile’s family and undertakers so that her cultural traditions and practices are respected,” says Derek.