PICS: Cape Town's chicken roadside sellers

2019-04-22 09:16
A bird sits on Mathapelo Setona’s arm. (Masixole Feni, GroundUp)

A bird sits on Mathapelo Setona’s arm. (Masixole Feni, GroundUp)

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Mathapelo Setona has been selling chicken at Mfuleni’s taxi rank for a year. She is 18 years old and from Lesotho. She lives with her mum and siblings in an informal settlement.

"I start work at 08:30 and finish at 19:00," she told GroundUp.

Setona works for Ntabiseng Moshoeshoe who began her chicken business in 2010. Moshoeshoe started with 20 chickens. She says that back then business was slow. But after about three years it began to grow.

Cape Town's chicken roadside sellers

Workers offload crates of chickens along Japhta Masemola Road in Site C, Khayelitsha. (Masixole Feni, GroundUp)

Now she sells about 16 to 25 chickens a day. She has just received chickens from a farm in Philippi, from whom she usually orders 100 to 150 birds at a time.

Cape Town's chicken roadside sellers

Mathapelo Setona at the chicken stand. This business sells 100 to 150 chickens a day. (Masixole Feni, GroundUp)

But Moshoeshoe’s business was hit hard by the bird flu outbreak in 2017. Many of the farmers from which informal chicken traders ordered their chickens closed down. Moshoeshoe also says chicken traders are given a hard time by city officials if they don’t have permits to trade.

Moshoeshoe buys chickens for R50 to R60. She charges R70 to R100, depending on the quality and size of the chicken.

Despite business being a bit slow, she is satisfied. It supports her family of five.

"What I love about this business is that it is outside," says Setona. "I’m not enclosed, working in a building."

People in Site C, Khayelitsha pluck the chickens for Moshoeshoe’s business. (Masixole Feni, GroundUp)

When they receive the chickens they take them to people in Site C, Khayelitsha. They pluck and clean the chickens, and in exchange they keep the heads and feet. These are then resold at street corners in the neighbourhood.

Cape Town's chicken roadside sellers
                             A bird sits on Mathapelo Setona’s arm. (Masixole Feni, GroundUp)

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