Brooms Pay

Simcelile Tinini (34) paid magadi (bridal gift) with the money he makes from selling brooms on the streets. He had to buy live cows for the gift. Price tags on a cow could be anything from R7000 and beyond. “That was my paramount achievement since I started selling brooms in 2002,” he says proudly.

Unemployment forced him out Bizana in the Eastern Cape to the streets of Soweto. The distance is over 800 kilometers. Simcelile has a wife and five children who need to be taken care of. He says, “I manage to send money back home, but there is no consistency. Some months are better than the others. On a good month I can make about R2000.”

He hits the streets at 06:00, with a bundle of brooms and plastic rakes on his shoulder. He whistles the street to draw attention. “People know my whistle. When they hear me, the come out of their houses when they need to buy something,” he says.

His is not an easy job, but he has to survive. The summer scorching sun does not deter him. He was even robbed of the money he made, but he had to soldier on for the sake of his family. On the same breath, Simcelile is simultaneously looking a better job.