Traders of the Jozi CBD

This week, in her Hu­mans of Mzansi se­ries, pho­to­jour­nal­ist Zahra Haider heads to down­town Joburg to meet the in­for­mal traders of Kerk Street and Park Sta­tion

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‘I’m from Soweto and I’m here in the street as a hustler, a street ven­dor. I’m sell­ing crafts as an artist and I am try­ing to build our brand now that we are reg­is­tered. I’m just try­ing to stay out of crime by be­ing self-re­liant. I like to be in­de­pen­dent and show that I have the wis­dom to sur­vive on my own as an artist. I can’t com­plain much, but the na­tion needs to recog­nise artists and up­lift them.”

‘I’ve been sell­ing here for more than a decade. What I’ve learnt is that you can’t be lazy out here. You have to be­lieve in your­self and work hard. The prob­lem with some peo­ple is that they rely on al­co­hol and then they fail. I don’t mind work­ing here be­cause it’s much bet­ter now. There used to be no tent cover and it would rain on us and the win­ter was harsh, but we would keep sell­ing. My fam­ily is home in Sene­gal and one night I got re­ally sick and some South Africans took me to the hos­pi­tal. That’s why, if you’re good, you’re good. If you’re bad, you’re bad. In Is­lam, we say that the skin colour or na­tion of a per­son is nei­ther good nor bad, only the heart can be ei­ther. Africa is Africa, it doesn’t mat­ter where you come from.”

CHEIKH SOCK

JABULANE BHENGU

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