Centre of attraction…..Pushcart female fruit vendor invades city centre streets

21 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Centre of attraction…..Pushcart female fruit vendor invades city centre streets Ms Edesi Ndlovu with pushcart

The Chronicle

Lumbidzani Dima, Chronicle Reporter
PUSHCARTS are normally a tool of trade for men who usually frustrate pedestrians in Bulawayo’s city centre but a mother of three has joined them to push her vending business.

Ms Edesi Ndlovu (4) from Emthunzini suburb on the outskirts of Bulawayo, is doing something that has somewhat seen people turning their heads on the streets. She sells fruits using a pushcart which she moves around while carrying her one-year-old baby on her back.

Ms Ndlovu who is originally from Pupu in Lupane Matabeleland North Province, says her rural background shaped her a lot. She attended Insika Primary School and Sibambene Secondary School in Lupane and ran away from home in 1998 to come to Bulawayo to work as a maid.

Maid

The only girl in a family of five, Ms Ndlovu said she decided to run away because her mother was against town life saying it will spoil her.

Ms Ndlovu was married in 2005 and only went back to Lupane to see her mother in 2006 after giving birth. She apologised and reconciled with her mother.

In an interview she said she started her vending business using a pushcart in 2020.

Ms Ndlovu said she is not ashamed of what she is doing as she believes that a girl child whether married or not shouldn’t be dependent.

“To every girl out there, take that pushcart and earn a living. Be a woman of influence, be a woman of substance, just do it on your own. You do not have to wait for anyone,” she said.

Ms Ndlovu said she earns an average of US$10 a day and starts her job at around 10AM and knocks off at 6PM.

“There are good days and bad days but I have never gone home empty handed. My customers are mostly those people who buy out of the love of what I am doing as a woman,” she said.

Ms Ndlovu said during the Covid-19-induced lockdown in 2020, she used to walk to town and back to sell her awares.

“During lockdown it was very difficult. I would move around with a box of my fruits, selling to people who were queuing to either board buses or enter retail outlets. There was a time when getting into town needed a pass, so I could not board a Zupco bus, so I walked from Emthunzini to the city centre because I had no choice,” she said.

Ms Ndlovu said what made her situation worse was that she was pregnant but believed some of her customers bought from her in sympathy.

“I had customers who would buy the whole crate and pay US$20 which was the average I used to make on a good day. I was able to meet most of my family needs despite the lockdown challenges,” she said.

But why was she desperate to leave Lupane for Bulawayo?

“I finished my Form Four in 1997 and passed just one subject, a B in isiNdebele. Just like any other girl in the rurals who had failed at school I wanted to come to town but my mother refused. She thought I would chase after boys and get pregnant out of wedlock, a thing that she viewed as a disgrace. As the only girl child out of five children she was over-protective,” she said.

Ms Ndlovu said she really wanted to come to Bulawayo, look for a job as a maid and then go back to school but her mother continued denying her the chance. This led her to run away from home aged 18.

“In 1998 I had to run away from home. I packed my bag and hid it in the bush and then I woke up early in the morning and boarded a bus to Bulawayo.

Along the way I remembered that the relatives we had in Bulawayo would send me back home. I then dropped off at some plots where my brother worked. I told him that I ran away and he understood me. I stayed with him till I found a job in Bulawayo,” said Ms Ndlovu.

She said she worked for a Mpopoma suburb family for more than six years.

“I got a chance to go back to school and passed five subjects this time around. I later met my husband who worked at some nursery. We dated for two years before we got married in church,” said Ms Ndlovu.

She said she got married in 2005 and had her first child in 2006 after which she returned home in Lupane to apologise to her mother .

Ms Ndlovu said she later got a job at some local takeaway outlet where she worked for 14 years.

“I asked someone who lives near my uncle’s place in Emakhandeni for some piece jobs and guess what she connected me to a job that lasted 14 good years.

Office auditor

I moved from department to department and I’m sure the only post that I did not hold is being an accountant. I held the position of being an office auditor for five years. It wasn’t smooth all the time but I got to learn how to handle different challenges.

I worked so hard there and that’s where I got money to buy a stand,” said Ms Ndlovu.

She said she left her job in 2018.

“At first I did not know what to do but after a while, I decided to go into this hustling job. I was brought up by parents who taught us that a person should work hard in order to earn a living.

I started by selling tomatoes but I did not like the business. I changed into selling bananas and later all sorts of fruits using a pushcart,” said Ms Ndlovu.

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