Our vendors: Ntombovuyo Cekiso (The Big Issue, Cape Town, South Africa)

By Yonga Balfour, The Big Issue South Africa

I come from Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape and moved to Cape Town to seek greener pastures. When I arrived here things didn’t go as planned. I came to the city in 2006 and lived with my aunts in Kraaifontein. They supported me so much and I’m grateful to them, because from 2006 to 2008 I struggled to get a job.

I found a contract job in retail stores. When the contract ended, I worked on wine farms, earning approximately R50 a day, which was equivalent to my transport fare. I didn’t get to see the money I was making, so I couldn’t save up for anything, let alone contribute to groceries at home.

Ntombovuyo with one of her customers. Photo by Yonga Balfour

In 2013, another vendor informed me about The Big Issue and told me how happy she was making money on her own. That’s when I decided to join. It has been a wonderful journey and life is better. I am self-empowered and can support my family and my child. I even managed to rent my own place in Khayelitsha. My earnings here contribute towards my two siblings’ education, my father’s hospital bills and my son’s education.

My clients are good people. They always look forward reading to the magazine, especially when a new issue is out. When I’m not at the Waterfront, I go to church as often as I can, as I enjoy gospel music. I am working towards saving money to get my driver’s license because I have completed a course in first aid. I’d love to be an ambulance driver.”