VENDORS GET A SLICE OF UIA PIE
By: Khanyisani Dlomo
When street vendors were instructed to register their businesses to trade at the International Union of Architects (UIA) World Conference, many doubted they would make any money.
But after the conference, which attracted over 5000 visitors at the Durban International Convention Centre, they were happy as a flea in a doghouse.
Vendors were showcasing their own designed and hand-crafted products. These include beaded jewellery, hats, necklaces, shoes, bags and traditional clothing.
Nokwanda Songxaba, who usually trades out of the Workshop, Durban’s ubiquitous CBD, said she was sceptical at first, but was soon inundated with new business.
“I was unsure about coming here but it turned out to be a good decision,” Songxaba said.
“This was a great chance for us to showcase our traditional products. I wish the eThekwini Municipality could allow us to trade at big events like Tourism Indaba and Durban July,” she added.
Songxaba pleaded to the municipality not to charge the vendors registration fees. “We should trade for free at all events. I paid R400 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium during the African Cup of Nations. We must also be provided with stands and tents.”
Engelin Makhaye, who has been trading for over a decade, said going to the UIA was good for her business.
“When I see a chance, I grab it. I knew that wealthy people from all over the world would be here therefore I increased the prices of the items. My strategy worked because I made profit,” Makhaye said excitedly.
Early Morning Market’s Pam Moodley said she was grateful for the opportunity. “After my registration was approved, I was very excited that I was going to show the world what Durban has to offer,” Moodley said.
“On the first day it start off slowly but they (visitors) were happy that we have a variety of products. The municipality must continue with the good work. I’m grateful. As vendors, were are appreciative.”