PITCH: Canal Walk, Entrance 4 (Pick n Pay)
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Ntombekhaya is an experienced cleaner and would appreciate any permanent job opportunities or assistance with starting her own business of selling clothing in the township.
If you would like to assist her, contact The Big Issue office on 021 461 6690 or email info@ bigissue.org.za.
Big Issue vendor Ntombekhaya Phandle is an entrepreneur with a fighting spirit. The 39-year-old mother takes pride in being able to provide for her family, thanks to selling the magazine. “I started selling The Big Issue in 2008 and over the years I’ve been able to send my two kids to school. My 19-year-old daughter is studying business management at Northlink College and my 13-year-old daughter is in Grade 7, and I would really like to see them succeed in life. We live in an RDP house – it’s small but big enough for the three of us. I don’t mind; our house is warm because of the love we share among ourselves,” she says. Being a single parent is tough, but Ntombekhaya is grateful for the support she receives from The Big Issue and her customers. “There’s no medicine to cure the pain of raising kids on my own. As vendors we have to make ends meet and our customers are very helpful when it comes to that,” she says. “People don’t just buy the magazine because it’s what we do. They buy our magazine because of the reasons why we do it. That’s why I focus on building good relationships with my customers. You can’t go wrong by placing the customer at the centre of everything you do,” she says.
Like any other entrepreneur, Ntombekhaya has experienced ups and downs, but she has to forge ahead every day, no matter what. “If you look at life’s obstacles as problems, you can develop a negative mindset that will prevent you from finding success. Instead, if you see the obstacles as opportunities, you can find more success.” “It can be difficult to find opportunities in some problems, but if you look hard enough, there are positives even in the most overwhelming of circumstances,” she says. So, what motivates Ntombekhaya to continue selling the magazine after 12 years? “No parent is prepared to fold their arms and let their kids starve to death. Also, the love I receive from my customers is the reason I wake up every day. I treat my pitch like my workplace. Plus, I am my own boss,” she chuckles. She is particularly optimistic about further opportunities to supplement her income, which will come from selling The Big Issue’s newest magazine offering, little issue. Vendors will sell the magazine (which is aimed at learners in Grades R to 3) during the last week of The Big Issue’s sales, to supplement their income. “I’m delighted by the introduction of little issue because we will have two opportunities to earn an income. The organisation always looks out for us. Without these magazines we would be unemployed,” she adds.