STREETS AHEAD: SWEET SELLER SURPASSES THE NORM TO SURVIVE
Mother’s hard work, not giving up, pays off
“HARD work, perseverance and humility always pays off,” Lulama Ntlanganiso, a street vendor of more than 17 years, says.
Ntlanganiso, a mother of two, started selling sweets and chocolates for 40c to put food on the table for her family but now has a stall selling pillows, fashionable hats, “doeks” (headscarfs), fresh fruit, vegetables, sweets, chocolate, chips and even dishwashing liquid.
Stationed in Oxford Street just passed the City Hall, Ntlanganiso, 39, said she worked under difficult and challenging conditions but never thought of giving up.
“What are my kids going to eat if I give up?”
Asked where she got the energy and enthusiasm from, Ntlanganiso said: “From my mother. My mother and I used to sell sweets at the beachfront in Quigney when I was still a teenager and I learnt the business from her.
“She taught me everything I know,” she said.
During this Women’s Month, Ntlanganiso encouraged women, both young and old, to get up and provide for their families. “People can’t just sit and wait for men to provide for them.
“Independence is so nice; most of our sisters should try it.
“People often undermine this [street vending], but it puts food on my table and takes my two beautiful children to school. I am happy here and my clients love me and my services,” she said.
Ntlanganiso emphasised the importance of her relationship with her clients.
“Some even talk about their personal problems because they can see that I am easygoing and I am generally a nice person, always willing to assist where I can.
“The thing is, you never know where you will need help one day. Always be nice,” Ntlanganiso said.
Unlike some street vendors with no municipal licence, Ntlanganiso has one which she obtained more than 10 years ago.
“It is difficult, especially because I am a woman and I have to do everything myself, but some shop owners are very helpful in that [regard], I am able to keep my stuff in their shops overnight,” she said.
ROLE MODEL: Lulama Ntlanganiso started out on a small scale selling sweets to passersby, but now has a stall selling goods such as food. sweets, cushions, hats, belts and shoes