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

By Nobambo Cele, vendor for The Big Issue South Africa

I’m from Ladyfree in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. I came to Cape Town in 1999 to look for work. It’s not easy going to a new place. But there are no opportunities in the Eastern Cape so coming to Cape Town was the only thing I could do.

Nobambo sells The Big Issue South Africa in Cape Town.

I didn’t do anything before selling The Big Issue. When I first got to Cape Town, I was living in Khayelitsha [an informal township in Cape Town] and my neighbours told me about The Big Issue. So I started selling the magazine.

I’m doing well with the sales. I always put a smile on my face when I sell to my customers. Sometimes if I look a little sad they will pass me. But if I smile and do a little dance they’ll turn around and buy a magazine.

I attend workshops here at The Big Issue and have gained a lot of skills, like how to behave at our pitches and how to talk to customers through sales training.

I like selling The Big issue and the people here are nice, but it would be great if I could get a permanent job as a domestic worker. The reason is that when winter comes and it rains, it’s hard to sell the magazine.

The Big Issue has English classes, which helps me learn to speak better English. When they start the classes again, I would like to join them because that would help me as a domestic worker.”

With the money that I make selling The Big Issue I support my three children, who have moved here from the Eastern Cape to live with me. They are very, very important to me.

I would like to say thank you to all my customers for their support and I hope they will continue supporting me in my work.

What are your best qualities?

I’m healthy and I really appreciate that. Some people aren’t so lucky. I am also a very patient person.

What do you want most of all?

I would like to improve my lifestyle and get out of poverty. I’d also like my children to have better opportunities in life, like going to good schools.

We share a vendor story every Wednesday. Read more global vendor stories here.