PITCH: Strand St & Buitengracht St
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Phanuel is an experienced construction worker and welcomes any employment opportunity. He would also appreciate assistance with obtaining his driver’s licence to increase his chances of being employed.
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 Phanuel Mulaudzi is convinced that endurance and persistence are key when living in impoverished conditions. This young man is determined to persevere and work his way to success.
Word and Image by: Lungisa Mnqwazi
The festive season is a special time for Big Issue vendor Phanuel Mulaudzi. It is a reminder of his childhood days in Venda, Limpopo Province. The 32-year-old father of one would love to return to his family home for the holidays. However, he will have to put his trip on hold for a while. “I grew up in a home that was filled with warmth and love. Even to this day my family wants me to go back, but that is not my plan as I believe in working hard for my earnings,” says Phanuel. “I used to go home every year, but now things are hectic; I only started selling the magazine recently and have not been able to save any money to go home.” Phanuel joined The Big Issue in August this year, and plans to make the most of the busy holiday season, which usually means increased magazine sales for vendors. “I remember the meals my mom used to cook on Christmas Day. I won’t be there to enjoy her cooking this year, as I have to push sales during the festive season when more tourists visit Cape Town,” he says.
A NEW CHAPTER
Phanuel remembers the day in 2010 when he packed his bags and left Venda in search of a better life for himself. “I relocated to Cape Town when the construction company I worked for moved here after winning a big tender, and it seemed that it would sustain us for a long time. Unfortunately, that was not the case,” he recalls. Phanuel had big dreams when he embarked on his journey to the Mother City. Everything seemed perfect and life was good for about three years, until the company experienced financial difficulties and was forced to close its doors in 2013.Going back home to his loved ones in Venda wasn’t an option the young man was willing to consider. He was in a relationship and didn’t want his one-year-old baby to be without a father. “I wanted my son to grow up in my presence so that I could teach him about the principles of life and being a responsible person,” he explains. Desperate to earn a living, Phanuel became a street vendor selling hats and phone chargers. “I could not fold my arms and wait for miracles to happen; I had to find ways to provide for my next meal.”
With a knack for trading with goods on the streets, selling The Big Issue has been a fairly easy transition for Phanuel. He is determined to make a success of selling the magazine, as his life and that of his girlfriend and son depend on it. “I am entirely dependent on my magazine sales earnings for a living, as my girlfriend only occasionally finds piecemeal jobs. Being poor means living with the constant stress of paying for a roof over your head as well as water, food and clothes. A big contributor to the stress is having to prioritise necessities. How do I choose between buying toiletries and my next meal?” If it’s true that it’s always darkest before dawn, it seems to Phanuel that dawn is certainly taking its time. He remains hopeful about finding a well-paying job so that he can get his life back on track.