More people enter the informal sector as covid -19 bites
“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Indeed this quote by German theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, sums up the inspiring fortitude of entrepreneurs huddled together to eke out a decent existence in the midst of a brutal epidemic at the thriving BBS market.
Tightly nestled between banks, pharmacies, shops, fast-food restaurants in and around the mall, the street market has grown exponentially over the last year alone, thanks to the still-raging pandemic.
When Voice Woman visited the marketplace on May Day holiday, it was bustling with street vendors and shoppers, the narrow walkways made much tighter by the arrival of younger and newer ‘hustlers’.
Tshepiso Goshwe, 22, Tutume
I’m a BA Archives and Records Management student at the University of Botswana.
This is my mum’s stall and I am currently helping out as I’m on vacation.
We’ve been selling fruit and veggies here for 5 years before the market got this busy.
I’d say lockdowns are rather harsh on the informal sector but presently things are looking good.
Since shoppers are impatient to queue outside shops to register their names, they buy from us and have expressed appreciation of our produce.
With the rate of unemployment shooting up the roof, I’m glad I’m honing my entrepreneurial skills here therefore I aspire to go into business after graduating.
Larona Mogodu, 25, Mahalapye
I started selling barbecued chicken wings, gizzards and mafresh here last year after I realized that I could make more money in the informal sector as opposed to where I was before; I was a petrol attendant earning a paltry P1200.
I was studying at IDM and after attaining my Diploma I couldn’t proceed to the next stage.
So, I saved up some money to buy this deep fryer, braai stand, table, gazebo and first box of gizzards.
On a busy day I make about P700. My girlfriend is my business partner. We also sell masks.
Kelly Nkhumisang, 45, Mochudi
I’ve been plying my trade here at BBS for 13 years selling wigs.
I went into the hair business right after high school.
The hair business has been adversely affected by covid-19, as people don’t go out as much due to restrictions on social gatherings. Before Covid, I made between P3k and 5k a month.
I make the wigs myself and have also taught my children the art of making wigs.
I now also sell diphaphatha in the morning, from 6am to around midmorning to supplement my income and then pitch my gazebo and set tables for these wigs.
Nowawdays, a day can pass without selling a single wig, but with bread I can make at least P200 a day.
Boitumelo John, 45, Bobonong
I came here last year after our sector was closed down due to covid-19; I was working as a manager in a nightclub.
Times are tough but one has to find other ways to survive and so I sell madila (cultured milk), honey, car phone chargers and socks.
In fact, I also do sell any and everything; I even help fellow vendors sell their goods.
I’m a family man therefore cannot just sit around and do nothing; I have kids to take care of.
In a month, I make about P2000.