PITCH: 31 Longboat Road, Sunnydale, Cape Town, 7975
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Tsepo would welcome any employment opportunity.
He is a jack-of-all-trades and has special experience in working with studio equipment. If you would like to help him, contac The Big Issue office on 021 461 6690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words: Lungisa Mnqwazi
Image: Lungisa Mnqwazi
Being a good person does not depend on your religion or status in life, your race, political views or culture. It depends on how well you treat others.
Growing up in the dusty streets of Nyanga, The Big Issue vendor Tsepo Philiso, 48, chose to lead an honest life, which he has always strived to do as an adult. After matriculating in 1989, he worked mostly part-time.
“After losing my parents, I had to put my dreams on hold and provide for my siblings. During this time, I became a parent myself, which made it even more impossible to pursue my studies. I always advise my kids not to impregnate anyone or fall pregnant at an early age, as that will add a burden to their lives and they’ll end up neglecting their dreams,” he says.
Tsepo has gone to great lengths to ensure the welfare of others, even if it means sharing his hard-earned income with others who need it the most. “Recently, a friend of mine lost everything in a fire. I gave him my last money and some of my belongings because I can’t just watch another human being suffer. Jah would never forgive me,” says Tsepo.
The religious father of two first started selling the magazine in 2000. He received a big break in 2006 when one of his customers offered him full-time employment. However, in January this year the company closed its doors due to financial struggles, leaving Tsepo unemployed.
“After losing my job, I was heartbroken because now my family has to rely solely on my wife’s salary, which is not enough to take care of all our basic needs. Being a man and unemployed automatically robs you of your dignity and pride,” he says.
Although losing his employment was devastating, Tsepo decided to go back to selling The Big Issue magazine at High Level Road in Sea Point. “If you can’t change the situation, it’s wise for you to find a solution to it. I came back to The Big Issue because I didn’t leave on bad terms and they welcomed me back with warm hearts,” he says.