Surviving struggles: street vendors share tales of resilience amid economic hardship

In the face of economic adversity, many individuals have turned to entrepreneurship as a means of sustaining themselves and their families. Orange Farm News delved into the experiences of street vendors, both local South Africans and immigrants, who shared their compelling journeys.

Carol Mare: “I started my hair business in 2018, after leaving my job at a flower shop due to low pay. I was renting a space in one of the buildings but was chased out, so now I run my business in the streets. It’s very difficult when it rains or too cold we can’t work. I pay rent and support children with this money, even though some days are bad. Getting a job in South Africa depends on what you can do with your hands especially without an ID. I wish I can get a proper stall for my business.”

Thandeka Cele: “I started my food business last year, but I have been selling different products for many years. I’m a single mother of three and with this money I buy food, stationery and clothes for my children. Running a business from the street is challenging when it rains you can’t sell. I use a gas stove it needs to be filled and it’s costly and some days are good some are bad but there’s nothing one can do but hustle.”

Pitso Tshepe: “Getting a job is hard even for South Africans it’s even harder for us. That’s why I started my small business selling sweets, snacks and achaar. Days are not the same and being on the streets with rain and other challenges sometimes I make no profit. With this money I’m able to support me and my family.”

Mirriam Madonsela: “I started my business earlier this year, I was tired of sitting at home doing nothing. Business is bad people don’t have money, times are very hard, so I don’t make profit anymore. Besides there’s a lot of us selling food everyone is trying to make a living. I wish the government would intervene help street vendors with proper stalls because there are no jobs so this is our job.”

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