Street vendors are one of the hardest working people selling their goods and wares by the wayside each and every day.
However, most people don’t know the difficulties that these people go through to earn a living. Getting up early in the morning to prepare their stock for selling in extreme weather conditions; knocking off late in the evening as most sales happen after the workers in the formal sector come out to buy. Long working days to maximize profit.
After realizing that his business was not doing well in his home town of Thaba-Tseka, , Pusetso Pheko, a 27 year old street vendor, took a leap of faith and came to Maseru. Selling sneakers, denim jeans, T-shirts and caps, Pheko started making good money. He feels he made the right decision.
“I travel to Johannesburg in Gauteng every month-end to buy clothes that I’m selling here at Sefika taxi rank. It has been some time now since I started selling and I’m making something out of my life as I support my parents,” he said.
He added that being in the street was still being looked down upon by some people and those who don’t understand entrepreneurship.
He has challenges to contend with, though. Some days are slow and there is also a lot of theft of clothes such as caps and shoes.
All the same, he still manages to sometimes employ people on a temporary arrangement for support as he cannot afford to employ them on a full time basis. It is rewarding to able to create short term employment for others.
‘It is important that we help each other because life is difficult and I feel fulfilled because I know I have helped another person. My sole purpose was to be able to provide for my family when I ventured out on the streets,” he said. He has made a difference in his life and in the lives of others. He is justifiably proud.
Mrs ‘Mathabo Ntsekele (46) from Leribe currently residing at Ha-Leqele in Maseru was employed as a factory worker but realized that the money was not enough. She then decided to sell socks, and other items on the streets. She has been making good money and has never looked back.
Ntsekele is thankful that the government has erected shacks for them to sell and hopes that her business will improve.
For her however, buying goods from Gauteng to sell turns out to be expensive. “It is expensive for me to go Gauteng to buy stock unless I have run completely out “, she said.
Despite the challenges, she vows never to leave vending in the streets.