PITCH: Hout Bay Harbour
(34.0562° S, 18.3401° E)
Big Issue vendor Joseph Klint is proof that dedication certainly doesn’t get old. The 67-year-old grandfather has been selling the magazine for 22 years and he’s still as passionate as he was on his first day at his pitch.
Words and Image by: Lungisa Mnqwazi
This year marks The Big Issue’s 23rd year of changing lives through creating micro-entrepreneurship opportunities for unemployed individuals. What makes this milestone so significant is that the organisation’s achievements have, among others, been made possible as a result of thousands of magazines passing through the hands of dedicated vendors who sell it on to our beloved readers. Big Issue vendor Joseph Klint, 67, is the organisation’s longest-serving vendor. Like a soldier who is loyal to his country, he has remained faithful and consistent, selling the magazine for 22 years. Asked why he continues to sell it in his old age, Joseph replies: “Selling it is what I do best. The relationship I have built with my customers has kept me going, and I don’t want to be deprived of that by staying home to watch TV. Besides, my pensioner’s grant can’t sustain my lifestyle.” Born and raised in Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats, Madala Klint as I affectionately call him, leads an honest life and is a good example to his 23 grandchildren. “Life has been a blessing to me and I’m glad that the almighty God has kept me alive to this day so that I can spend some time with my loved ones.”
LOYAL TO THE CAUSE
Madala Klint rises as early as 5am to prepare for his daily commute from Bonteheuwel to his pitch in Hout Bay, which he calls his office. While the two suburbs seem to be worlds apart, he knows the route between them like the palm of his hand. “I have travelled to Hout Bay a thousand times or more. Each morning still feels like the first day that I went to sell my first magazine.” The former seaman works seven days a week, and only takes special days off, such as his birthday on 23 October. “I’m my own boss; I don’t have anyone to submit a doctor’s certificate to, so I have to fend for my own survival.”Madala Klint enjoys sharing stories of his days as a seaman. “It was one of the best times of my life, as I got to travel to different provinces. I miss the smell of the open sea, but my age does not allow me to go back,” he says. So, when does he plan on retiring? He just chuckles and says he will sell The Big Issue until the man above decides otherwise. Madala Klint plans to continue doing what he loves, and calls on customers to continue supporting vendors. Thankful for the opportunity to earn an extra income, he adds: “I wish the magazine exists for many more years because we rely on it to fight the war against poverty. May The Big Issue organisation continue to be a blessing for underprivileged families.”