Street Vendors in Pretoria
by Cyril Skosana
(Pretoria, South Africa)
Street Vendors in Pretoria
Cyril had a chat with the street vendors in Pretoria.
Pretoria, like the rest of Africa is slowly having its streets filled with hundreds of vendors. This form of business is popular amongst crafters. African crafts are very unique and more popular among tourists.
This proves to be the best way of alleviating poverty among the unemployed lower income members of the society. These street vending ventures have a potential to grow to sustainable businesses that even employ a few assistants.
It is an encouraging way of making an honest living not resorting to crime that we see escalating to its unknown peak. Pretoria is one of the many places flooded by street vendors. That’s expected, Pretoria is the capital city of the country and a central location for work places. The congestion with working force is one of the main attraction factors for street vendors.
The streets are overflowing with vendors from different parts of the world, varying races and genders. A range of ages, from the young guys who dropped out of school to the old ones whose intentions is to build a better tomorrow for their children. They are all there for one good reason. To sell goods for survival, fighting against hunger and creating self-employment.
And their location is practically appropriate, they are making life and they are surviving. True, we buy their stuff, I bought quite a lot of stuff from street vendors and it is also because they sell at a cheaper rate, quite affordable if you may ask. That should make sense since mostly carry no overhead costs.
Steven Lester (24), from Malawi came to South Africa in 2004 searching for enhanced ventures. “It was not easy back home, I came to South Africa due to the fact that I was not employed, and I needed to make a living.” Steven says South Africa was his destiny for keeping his dream breathing. Certainly, this country has its greater advantages and the unfortunate disadvantages. But each and every country or city has its bad corners and the good ones. “I have always had a dream of owning my own business one day, and I am on my way there,” added Steve, who is hopeful about his business endeavours. As I see it, he is right there in business ownership.
Steve is selling goods that he creates himself and other things that he buys to resell. “All these crafts I made myself and also the shoes, but scarves, socks and leggings I buy.” He mentions that it is not easy to make it in this city and people’s stereotype about foreigners doesn’t help either.
However, he says that does not trouble him at all, “not everyone will like you, and these are the things that I had expected when I started this business.” Although it is not simple for him in this Pretoria, he acknowledges the fact that people will never treat you the same, you just have to find a way of tolerating different characters.
He believes that although the government has to provide job opportunities, it is also citizens’ responsibility to create employment. Steven sells his goods next to Sammy Marks Square on Helen Joseph Street.
What is your experience with Street Vendors in Pretoria?