Our vendors: Mavis Ngwevushe (The Big Issue South Africa)

Mavis Ngwevushe isn’t new to The Big Issue South Africa. She first became a vendor in 2007, having been unemployed for a long time. She sold the magazine for two years and then left to work in a jewellery store, where she learnt to make and sell jewellery. She is a self-proclaimed go-getter and hopes to open her own handmade jewellery store one day. We got to know her a little better.

Big Issue Australia vendor Mavis Ngwevushe selling the paper.

By Mavis Ngwevushe, The Big Issue South Africa vendor

When I first joined The Big Issue in 2007, I wasn’t in a good place. Being unemployed for years had resulted in me having low self-confidence. I didn’t have high expectations when I joined, because I didn’t think I would be able to sell. But when I sold a magazine, I felt good about myself. That feeling just increased as time went on.

After about two years, I went looking for work. I found a job in a jewellery store and loved it, but the store closed down when the owners decided to move overseas. I came back to The Big Issue for a while until I found a job in construction. I was a flag lady for a private construction company, but the contract was for four months only.

Now I am back and more confident than I was before. I know that I am able to do more, because I have done so much since being a part of The Big Issue. I have gained so much confidence in myself and my abilities.

Selling the magazine is easier for me now, because I can face people and because so many people know about the product. The only problem I am experiencing is that I don’t have a regular customer base, so sales are up and down.

I am a single mom and proud of the fact that I am able to support my three children. I know that my time at The Big Issue is only temporary because I have big dreams. I would like to own my very own jewellery store one day.

What has been the best part about being back at your pitch?

I must say SnapScan. The robots change so quickly that you often miss sales, but not anymore.

What’s your best quality?

I think I’m a creative person. I like making new things.

What’s your worst quality?

I am often my own worst enemy. But I am trying to be less critical of myself. It all starts with me.

INSP publishes an international vendor story every week. Come back next Wednesday to read another story from one of the thousands of inspirational men and women who sell street papers.