Johannesburg: like many other cities nearby is home to many fruit vendors.

Picking a location for your stand, better yet, pick several locations, in case your first choice isn't available. How much money you make selling fruits and vegetables depends largely on where you place your stand. You want your produce stand to be visible to your customers, preferably in an area with lots of foot traffic. You want those people to buy your produce, so it's a good idea to place the stand where people are already shopping for food, like by a supermarket or a farmer's market.

Mapule Phuku (32) is a young business minded woman who did not limit herself by staying at home and not providing for her children, she has 3 children. Mapule has been applying to different companies, but there was never a positive respond, that’s when she decided to fruits at Bree Street in the Johannesburg inner city.

She sells bananas, mangoes, avocados, apples, oranges, pawpaws and guavas. She is usually in town around 5am that is the time she usually opens for business. It is still dark, with only the streetlights illuminating the city but that doesn’t stop her from waking up at her home to come and sell fruits in town.

Near the robots on the corner of Eloff and Bree streets another hawker, a woman with a towel wrapped around her waist, is cooking vetkoek in a big steel pot. The smell of frying and cooking oil hangs in the air. The gas stove is encircled with cardboard boxes. The woman tells me that she is on the street by 4am every day.

Taxis abruptly stop and offload passengers, who get off and walk quickly to their destinations, some of them they buy, Mapule even have her regular customers how always buy her fruits whenever they pass in the morning and even after work.

Fruit vendors are on street corners in town, it is always a competition because we are many and we sell same items but one has to be good to his/her customers, they are times whereby they don’t pay me but I know that they will definitely pay will they have money, said Mapule.

In Johannesburg, on the corner of Commissioner, Main, Pritchard and Kruis Street, you often see a pair of vendors sitting in the sun with their fruit, hoping to sell the items straight from farms before they go to bed, and that’s how they make income.

Mapule takes turns with her eldest child, Boitumelo (25) there are days whereby her daughter sell at different locations in the area.

Local farmers and small business owners need the money more than large health food chains. A lot of times, small farms and small businesses are just getting their start, and don’t have a lot of financial backing. It’s up to the consumer to decide if they like what they’re selling, and support them so that their business will prosper.

Selling fruits and vegetables beats unemployment or sitting at home, she says. “Month end I am able to buy my children items that they want and it is always warm my heart to see my children smiling and appreciating every small item that I buy for them, Mapule said”.

By: Felicity Masike