6. Sharing A Coke With…Friends

Day: Monday, November 17, 2014


At our meeting with all the vendors on Thursday many showed great interest in having us visit their homes. Our visits would be used to help the vendors take photos and videos for their webpages while also giving us an opportunity to grow closer with them. We were to pick up Xolani, Themba, and Jakoef at the Delft SPAR then head over to the Khayelitsha police station to join the rest of the vendors.

Cast of Characters

  • Xolani– Big Issue Vendor, co-researcher
  • Zoliwe– Big Issue Vendor
  • Nosiphiuro– Big Issue Vendor
  • Nolusapho– Big Issue Vendor
  • No-Senior– Big Issue Vendor
  • Fikiswa– New Big Issue Vendor, co-researcher
  • Themba– Big Issue Vendor, co-researcher
  • Zikiswa– Big Issue Vendor
  • Jakoef– Big Issue Vendor
  • Chelsea– American volunteer with background in street papers, film, and production
  • Lance– World’s best bus driver who can navigate through small spaces.
  • Scott- WPI Advisor


9 of the vendors homes in Khayelitsha and Delft, two townships in the Cape Town area.


We drove down a busy street avoiding stopped buses and pedestrians trying to cross the street, to make it to the SPAR in Delft where we would pick up Xolani, Themba, and hopefully Jakoef. Jakoef had left the meeting before we had finalized plans and, because he no longer had a phone, we had to rely on word of mouth for him to know the meeting place. When we pulled up all three were there and we couldn’t be happier. All of us in the van, including Chelsea, clapped and cheered when we opened the doors for them. Xolani was so excited because he saw a bus pass them earlier and thought we had forgotten about them. With all of us in tow, cameras were handed out and we began our journey to Khayelitsha.

Driving to the Khayelitsha police station we realized just how big of a township it really was. We had arrived a bit earlier than 10 and when we drove past the station we did not see any of our vendors. This was a bit concerning but Xolani and Themba went to inspect the situation. They were extremely helpful the whole day with communicating and making sure everyone was there and having a good time.

After a few minutes of waiting for Xolani and Themba in the bus we finally saw them return with about 5 of the women. We were so excited to see them and they seemed generally excited to see us as well. When they stepped on to the bus we were greeted with large smiles, laughs, and hugs. It was great to feel the warmth they exuded for us the moment we said hello. A nice surprise was seeing No-Senior because she had originally said she did not want us to visit her home; but she was excited and ready to go! With that everyone was laughing and chatting with one another and we hit the road.

The first stop on our house tour was Zoliuse, and she took us on a crazy ride. We turned down a dirt road that seemed way too small for a big bus to fit through. We could all see how nervous Lance got when we reached a point where the bus had to squeeze through a tiny passage-way between two homes. A lot of the vendors decided to get out the bus and try to help direct him. It was amazing to see how much all the vendors bonded and wanted to help in any way they could. Many bottles of Coke appeared out of no-where as Lance navigated the difficult terrain and the vendors turned the delay into a social event. Other community members came out to see what was happening, which may have been a strange sight. With the great directing of the vendors and Lance’s driving skills the bus made it through and we were able to have a clear path to the homes.

The Bus Trying To Fit Into Khayelitsha

The Bus Trying To Fit Into Khayelitsha

It was difficult for a lot of the women to tell us about their homes while simultaneously using the video cameras. They would talk to us and then point the camera to the ground, so a lot of the footage was the floors of their homes. But it was great to see how excited they were to show us their rooms or where they cooked. Themba was great at filming at each vendor’s house and got a lot of footage that would have otherwise been missed.

Xolani was a huge help as well with translation and helping Lance figure out where to go. When we were visiting Zoliuse’s house, her door was not closing properly. Xolani swooped in with a kitchen knife and dug at the door jam to help fix it. He said that he loves helping fix things because it makes others happy. This showed the comradery that the vendors have for one another and they want to help each other have the best.

Xolani fixing Zoliuse’s door

Xolani fixing Zoliwe’s door

Most of the day was spent in Khayelitsha visiting many of the women vendor’s homes. After each home the vendors brought out Coca Cola and nice glasses to share with everyone. It was really funny because there was so much coke on the bus and we had no idea where it kept coming from. It kept everyone excited and ready to go to the next house. The plan was to finish in Khayelitsha then head to Delft after we had brought the vendors back to the Khayelitsha police station. However, when we mentioned this to the vendors there was a giant uproar. Many started yelling back and forth in Xhosa in the van, and we were very confused as to what was going on. Fikiswa started translating for us and said that the vendors thought it was unfair to not see the houses of those who lived in Delft. She said that they wanted to make sure they saw everyone’s home so they would know if a vendor is in a rough place or having a difficult time. They want to be a support for one another. With that said there was no more discussion and we went to Delft to see Jakoef, Themba, and Xolani’s homes. We had visited 9 of the vendor’s homes throughout the whole day, and it was a great experience.

The Sharing of Coca Cola

The Sharing of Coca Cola

The whole day was a great experience of seeing where everyone lived, their friends, and just how excited each person was throughout the day. We ended at Xolani’s house, which was a great place to end. His home was beautiful and we saw just how much hard work he had put into it. All the vendors took a seat on his couches and just enjoyed being in his home. More coke was brought out and Fikiswa had gotten biscuits to share with everyone. Xolani turned on his stereo and it turned into a dance party filled with laughs and smiles. Even Scott got down with some of the ladies. It was a great way to end the day because everyone came together and we left feeling like a family.


Ari: Today was amazing! It was so wonderful to see the excitement that the vendors had to be with us! As soon as they entered the bus we were greeted and hugged with smiles and laughs! As we went to each house it became increasingly obvious that they were intrigued by the vast differences between the houses. We were all amazed, but it seemed so shocking to us when to the vendors it was a chance to experience something new. I was so surprised that each of them wanted to see all of the houses and that they were not just exhausted by the time they got back to their own home. It was great to see the appreciation each person had to see someone’s house, that they were truly grateful they had been able to visit each of the homes. I loved see the difference in cultures and the amazing qualities that they showed each other. They were so proud and happy for everything they had, no matter how much or how little. It was so impactful that Fikiswa was able to come and really pull the vendors together, it seemed almost instantaneous that she was able to make a community out of such different people. I’m really glad that I have been able to be a part of this and continue to see the growth that the vendors share.

Gianna: Today has definitely been my favorite day of the project so far. In the beginning, I was unsure of how the day would play out. I was nervous because we did not know if we would find all the vendors or even have time to visit all of their houses. We sat down to plan today the night before but found that it was extremely difficult to come up with a plan because we were so far out of our element. I was especially nervous that we didn’t have a plan. The day ended up running very smoothly and it was such a learning experience and it was an extremely fun day for everyone involved. Maybe except Lance, but I saw him crack a smile a few times so I think he may have had a good time too. The more houses we visited, the better we got at documenting the process which was an awesome learning experience. At first, we tried allowing the vendors to film their own house as they explained it. The thought process behind this was to give the vendors the chance to share where they live through the means of video. We found that it was better to have someone else film as the vendor described their house. I loved how that, through this experience, the vendors seemed to bond and come together as a team. I felt accepted into their team and I am excited to spend more time getting to know them.

Nadjia: Today was one of the best days we’ve had. From the beginning of the day and the hugs that were shared I just knew it was going to be a good day. Everyone was excited and happy, turning our bus into more of a party bus. The funniest moment of the day was probably trying to get the bus to fit through maybe the smallest opening imaginable. A lot of the vendors hopped out to try and direct Lance through it and it was great to see them working together and being excited about it. It was crazy to see the variety of the vendors’ homes. Some had dirt floors while others had tiled ones. But none of the vendors were trying to one-up each other. They all respected what one another had and I really appreciated that. I loved what Fikiswa said about wanting to see each person’s home so that they know that if someone is having a hard time, they can be there to support one another. This message reached deep because at the beginning of this project most of these vendors did not know each other and now a great comradery has been created. It shows that all the hard we put in to connecting with the vendors has paid off, not only with us and the vendors, but between the vendors themselves.

Continue to Act 3 Scene 1: Making a Business Deal