PITCH: M3, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa
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Mlu would like to get his driver’s licence because he believes that would increase his chances of being employed at any construction firm
If you would like to assist him, contact The Big Issue office on 021 461 6690 or email info@ bigissue.org.za.
Like many of his peers, Big Issue vendor Mlungisa Nkomityhoboza is struggling. Halfway through the national lockdown, he has run out of resources to provide for himself and his family.
Words: Lungisa Mnqwazi Image by: Supplied
Poverty, unemployment, crime. These are just a few of the socio-economic realities that Big Issue vendor Mlungisi Nkomityhoboza has had to endure in his lifetime. Mlungisi, or Mlu as his customers call him, still faces these hardships every day. The 38-year old father of two lives in the Marikana informal settlement with his uncle, who is also a Big Issue vendor. He has been selling the magazine since last year.
“My cousin, who is also a vendor, introduced me to this self- empowerment opportunity and it has been a wonderful experience selling the magazine thus far,” he says.
Mlu sells the magazine from his pitch in Protea Road, Claremont. In the few months that he has been selling The Big Issue, he has grown fond of his customers.
“I’m grateful to them and The Big Issue for giving people like me an opportunity to do something positive with our lives and feed ourselves and families. The freedom of being an entrepreneur is amazing because you determine your salary; you don’t report to anyone. I wish the magazine can grow from strength to strength as I believe there’s potential for The Big Issue and us vendors to blossom together,” says Mlu.
Before the lockdown, Mlu managed to buy some supplies to feed himself and his uncle, but halfway through the lockdown they have run out of food, and have no clue how they are going to make ends meet.
“I’m not well because of the lockdown. I’m doing nothing at home and there are no sales. I don’t know what we’re going to do to get something to eat when our food runs out. I am worried about the coronavirus and don’t know when we are going back to our pitches or how we are going to survive if the lockdown is extended,” he concludes.