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Worldwide Vendor Spotlight

 Street News Service 13 May 2019

(Originally published: 05/2010) This month’s featured vendor is Steven Robert, who sells The Big Issue South Africa in Cape Town. (350 words) - By Street News Service

Worldwide Vendor Spotlight

Photo courtesy of The Big Issue South Africa

Steven Robert - The Big Issue South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa

I arrived in Cape Town from the Eastern Cape in 2001 with my older brother. I wanted to continue my high school studies while my brother was hoping to find employment. But my brother was unable to find a job and without any form of income we both struggled daily to meet our most basic needs.

My brother returned home and soon afterward passed away. My mother died shortly thereafter. I was completely alone in a new city, and couldn't even come up with the money for school shoes. That's when it became clear to me that I would have to give up on my education and find work.

Life is still not easy for ne. I live in a shelter in Wynberg, but I'm earning an income selling The Big Issue.

I have to keep a positive attitude to keep me going. If I'm having a tough day at work, I go to the park and take a spin on the roundabout. I relax and when I have cleared my mind I go back to my pitch and get on with the business of selling the magazine.

What I want most in life is to have a home of my own, where after a long day on the pitch I can just kick off my shoes, watch a bit of soccer or my favourite television programme. It's the little things in life that bring me joy. I also love ice cream and hot days.

If I had a place of my own, I would open up a home-based business using the sales skills that I have learned as a The Big Issue vendor.

If circumstances were different, I would love to play soccer for a living, but my more practical goal is to get additional experience in the plumbing industry. I have managed to get piecemeal plumbing work in the past and I really enjoyed it.

My advice to other vendors is just to keep pushing forward with the skills that they have and to never give up.

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