Living from hand to mouth, countless street vendors now more than ever face uncertain times during the 21-day coronavirus lockdown as of midnight tonight.
Local well-known faces in the street vendor business, sister and brother, Phakamile (47) and Moses Ngcobo (44) have been selling beach towels, sunglasses and buckets and spades used to build sand castles by little ones for nearly 30 years near Willard Main Beach at Compensation Beach Road.
Now, they say, their lives are about to change dramatically after being forced to shut down their business.
Hailing from Shayamoya township, KwaDukuza, Phakamile and Moses say they are scared of the coronavirus and respect the government’s measures to decrease its spread, but do not know if they will be able to survive the 21-day lockdown.
The fear and worry written in their faces is a look many street vendors are sure to share.
Moses, a husband and father, is the sole breadwinner for his family.
“I did not budget for the coronavirus. I am scared because I know we will run out of food. What will I say to my children?” asks the father of six.
“I had never failed to provide for my family, but now I see that I might see my children crying due to hunger,” says Moses.
The two say they usually make about R300 to R400 per day between them, and that the money was enough for food for a couple of days.
Phakamile says her four children and two grandchildren depends on her for food.
“I see people buying in bulk, preparing for the lockdown,” says a fearful and visibly concerned Phakamile.
“I can’t do the same because there is no money. If the food I have in our home gets finished, that’s it. We will starve. I don’t know what to do,” says Phakamile.
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