Charming ‘Witness’ vendor makes my day, says reader

2010-06-30 00:00

A LOCAL woman and a Witness newspaper vendor have developed a bond through daily smiles and banter.

Beth de Bruin of New England Road said she has chatted or waved to Bongani Bambalele on the corner of Alan Paton and Alexandra Roads for over a year.

“I drive a smart car, which often attracts people’s attention, so I have become used to people smiling and waving at me and doing the same back,” said De Bruin.

Bambalele has been selling The Witness since 2008 and is used to chatting daily with people buying the newspaper and passers-by.

De Bruin said that although she does not buy the paper from Bambalele — hers is delivered to her home — they have been waving and giving each other the thumbs- up for about a year.

“Whenever I stop at the robot, we chat and he calls me mommy,” said De Bruin.

“Last year he told me about his birthday so I bought him a chocolate cake.

“He reminded me of his birthday this year and I wanted to get him something special, so I bought him a Bafana Bafana beanie and scarf,” she said.

Bambelele was overjoyed with his 23rd birthday present from De Bruin.

“I am a big Bafana supporter so I was very happy with my gift from Mommy,” he said.

De Bruin’s and Bambalele’s days are brightened by their daily interaction.

“The Witness makes my day twice a day; when my husband brings me the paper with my tea at 6 am and then again when I see Bongani smiling and waving.

“He is such a charming person. It is not only me he is friendly to; he is always enthusiastic and energetic and has a smile for everyone,” De Bruin said.

Bambelele agreed, saying he has made many unusual friends through his job.

“It is a happy job and I have made too many different friends on the road. I love that about this job,” he said.

This relationship has prompted De Bruin to engage with other street vendors, although she says Bambelele is still her number one favourite.

“You can cultivate so many relationships at so many levels, and although we may not be best friends, we do have a bond. I’m sure he goes home and tells his family about this weird white woman,” she said

De Bruin said The Witness should be proud to have someone like Bambelele selling for it.

“He is the kind of person you want representing you.”

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