Chronicle of an Informal Trader


According to Lodene Wilemse; “Opportunities and constraints facing informal street traders,” including; limited income, limited work opportunities are the main reasons for informal trading in South African cities.

Florence Tofu a resident from Ziphunzana has been an informal trader since the release of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela from prison in February of 1990.

Makhulu Tofu said; “I started selling fruit and vegetables weeks before Nelson Mandela was released, I don’t really think much about it cause nothing has changed for me ever since then”.

and adds; “All I would like from the government is for them to build me a house one day since I still stay in an informal settlement’’.

The 72 year old granny left her home eMdantsane to be closer to where she works in town, her current home is in the congested area of Phase C.

Makhulu Tofu used to work at a company in East London in the 1980’s as a Machine Operator, in 1990 the company closed down and she was forced to look for employment elsewhere.

“I didn’t look for employment then because work was scarce and I wasn’t young anymore so I made a decision to become a informal street trader to support myself and not be a burden to anyone’’.

About her work day Florence wakes up at 3am to boil water for bathing, an hour later she leaves Ziphunzana to be at her “stand” e-town ngo 5am.

Uhlala esitulweni sakhe kuba eqhwalela, while unpacking her boxes of fruit and vegetables, and repacking them in bundles for sale. Makhulu Tofu says she pays R500 – R527 annually to rent the “stand” from the Municipality.

Informal street trader Gaily says; ”Working here is not worth it because sometimes you go home with R30 and I’ve only stuck around for all these years because theres nothing else I can do’’.

uMakhulu Florence agrees; “Ayikhonintsi imali endiyenza apha kodwa iyandonelisa mna ngoba incedisana ne Old persons grant endiyifumana eleke nyanga.

And adds; “As umntu okudala elapha inintsi into endiyifunde nge business, ndiyayazi noba ndizi thengephi i-products so that ndingathengisi i-bruised fruit”.

June 21, 2016; EFF and ANC stand together in traders plight. Rekord Pretoria:

April 23, 2016; South Africa trains informal sector players on entrepreneurship. CGTN Africa:

June 3, 2014; Stellenbosch Transparency – Informal : A story of street trade. opensauce:



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