Our vendors: Cyril Mylambiso (The Big Issue South Africa, Cape Town)

When Cyril Mylambiso started selling The Big Issue South Africa in Cape Town four years ago, he had lost his job, separated from his girlfriend and felt like a failure because he couldn’t support his two children.

Today, as he stands on the streets of Cape Town in his blue vendor bib, which states his main goal is to support his family, Cyril is proud to have held down a job for so long. He explains how the street paper is helping him find better work opportunities and the confidence to rebuild his relationship with his children.

“I’ve been a Big Issue vendor for four years. It hasn’t been easy for me, because I could never hold down a job for too long. I don’t have many skills, so the jobs that I apply for are often contract positions, which eventually come to an end

When I lost my last gig, it really hit me hard. My girlfriend and I decided to part ways around the same time and I felt like a failure because I couldn’t support my two children, who were very young at the time. A friend from my neighbourhood told me about The Big Issue and I decided to give it a go.

It feels good that I have been able to stay in one place for so long. Some people may think that selling the magazine is not a real job, but to me it is.

“Some people may think that selling the magazine is not a real job, but to me it is.”

For the first time in my life I have been able to hold down a job. It has restored my confidence. I am dedicated to selling out each month. I make up to R250 a day – sometimes even more. I love selling the magazine and I am so happy to be the Vendor of the Month.

Right now I am not in a hurry to move on because I have been so happy, but I know that sooner or later I will have to move on to something better. The Big Issue is a hand up, not a hand out, so for my children I will have to seek employment where I can earn more.

My advice to new vendors would be to make use of all the opportunities that The Big Issue offers. Right now, I am focused on improving sales but my goal for the year is to work on getting a new job.”

This is a summary of an article from The Big Issue South Africa originally published on the INSP News Service.