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

By Yonga Balfour, The Big Issue South Africa

“I come from Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape. I moved to Cape Town in 1997 to seek employment. Before joining The Big Issue in 1999, I had several piecework jobs in warehouses. I left a few months later after getting work as a cleaner at 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg. In 2008, I returned to The Big Issue.

I enjoy being a Big Issue entrepreneur, because it teaches independence and how to work with people. I am now able to afford necessities and provide for myself and my family back home in the Eastern Cape. I have two boys whom I love so much and it’s important that I provide for them, and set an example of how to be a good father. Working for myself also gives me the opportunity to visit my family in the Eastern Cape regularly; my eldest son lives there.

I think I’ve been selected as vendor of the month because I am great with my sales; I work well with people and have a good relationship with my clients and other vendors. I am a hardworking individual. I am a person who loves to learn and I never say no to something that will benefit my development.

The Big Issue gave me the opportunity to take a short computer course at Silulo Ulutho Technologies. It was a great experience, as I wasn’t exposed to computers before. The technology was fast-paced but I didn’t let that get in the way of me reaching my goals. I finished the course and I got my certificate.

When I’m not at work, I spend my time working out or bonding with my son who lives with me. I like to keep healthy, as I want to see my boys become good men because we are living in a time in which the world is faced with many troubles. My boys are my pride and joy. My wish is that they progress in their studies as I never had the opportunities they have today.”