A day in the life of a STREET VENDOR

The hands that work everyday.

The prospect of moving to another country did not faze Tony Tafadzanashe Chenhidza when he realised that he needed to leave the country so that he could support his family.

The 28-year-old crossed the border with nothing but his clothes into the unknown, because what he was familiar with was disintegrating before him. This is another day in the life of a street vendor…

Chenhidza in front his stall.

Chenhidza in front his stall.


Q : What brought you to South Africa?

TC : The economic status in Zimbabwe wasn’t okay, so I opted to move here for greener pastures, to make a living for me and my family.

Q : How long have you been here?

TC : I’ve been here for 5 years now.

Q : What do you call your line of business?

TC : I sell vegetables and fruits to community members of Protea Glen. 

Q : Why did you choose this particular line of business?

TC : A specific company had promised me that they would assist me with finding a space so that I could start up a fruit and veg shop, till today I’ve been waiting, so it was by default.

Q : How long have you been running this business?

TC : For about 3-4 years.

Q : What kind of people do you come across every day?

TC: Drunkards are my biggest problems, they will come here and fall on my product and as a business owner of course it upsets me because it’s a bad reflection on my business and it compromises the produce as well. But with time I’ve learnt that people are not the same and I will have to deal with these people differently even if they don’t buy my fruits or vegetables.

Q : What is the funniest experience you’ve had with a customer?

TC : There was a time when this person came to me and bought something worth R2 but wanted to be discounted on that price I just didn’t understand that, because that was the cheapest thing that I have; it amused me.

Q : What time do you open and close?

TC: I open at 7am-8pm on weekdays and on weekends I open at 5am-8:30pm to correspond with the supermarket across from me.

Q: Do you have a family?

TC : Yes, they are back home in Zimbabwe, I usually go every 6-8 months and the money I make here, I send home to my two younger sisters and my mother who is currently unemployed.

Q : What is the first thing that you do in the morning?

TC : I never go a day without praying, it gives me the strength to wake up and to keep moving forward and work harder.

Q : Where do you put your stock?

TC : I have three stores around the area, and every day I pack up my entire product and take it home with me.

Q : Have you ever had theft problems?

TC : Of course, but there’s not much I can do because if I run after those that rob me, I will leave my shop unattended opening the opportunity for more theft; so I let it go.

Q : What do you do for fun?

TC : I love sports so I go and play soccer with my friends in and around Protea.

Q : What is the most popular name they call you?

TC : They call me, Tony Yengeni, Tito Mboweni. That is obviously because of my name Tony and that is the easiest name to identify me with. Tito is also a nicknamed I picked up because of the double T initials. Mapoison is another popular name, because I used to sell pest and rodent repellents a few years back. I have stopped selling them because they were a seasonal product for me.

 ALSO READ: Vendor shot dead in front of the police station.


Sphindile Mbatha

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