PITCH: Cape Town
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Nocwaka needs assistance with weatherproofing her home because her roof leaks when it rains. She also needs bursaries for her children and help with their schoolwork, as well as assistance with getting her firstborn into a facility for people affected by Down’s syndrome.
If you would like to assist her, contact The Big Issue office on 021 461 6690 or email info@ bigissue.org.za.
Words: Alicia English
Big Issue vendor Nocwaka Mbeki is devoted to caring for her children, and will go to the ends of the Earth to secure their future. The 52-year-old widow lives in an RDP house in Samora Machel township, Philippi.
She started selling The Big Issue in 2008 and is her four children’s only breadwinnner, as her husband passed away in 2003. He firstborn has Down’s syndrome and her second child is a third-year business management student at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Her two youngest children are in Grades 9 and 12 respectively.
Nocwaka travels daily to her pitch at Constantia Village shopping centre. Determined to make ends meet, she is not deterred by the cold and rainy Cape Town weather. “It is raining, but I am working. I have to – my one child needs to graduate this year and the two younger ones are still at school. I need my children to finish their schooling and get jobs before I can think of staying at home,” she says.
Nocwaka highlights the support she receives from her valued Big Issue customers. “I am happy to sell the magazine, even after all these years, because I am able to support my family. My customers have been good to me, especially during the lockdown. One of my customers even gave me a television set so that I could have some entertainment while we are under lockdown,” she adds.