News / Economy

Mini Economy Springs Up Outside Mandela's Hospital

Collin Nkadimeng, left, barters with a customer Tuesday outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)Collin Nkadimeng, left, barters with a customer Tuesday outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)
x
Collin Nkadimeng, left, barters with a customer Tuesday outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)
Collin Nkadimeng, left, barters with a customer Tuesday outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)
— Outside the Pretoria Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been undergoing treatment since June 8, a village of sorts has sprung up - filled with international media, well-wishers and entrepreneurs.

It feels like a street fair. Broadcasters from all corners of the globe have set up tents, tripods and generators along the closed off street near the entrance to the clinic.

There is a constant stream of well-wishers throughout the day. Mothers bring children to drop off notes wishing Mandela well. Workers nearby come to see what the scene looks like. And of course,  there are journalists.

Collin Nkadimeng, left, barters with a customer Tuesday outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)Collin Nkadimeng, left, barters with a customer Tuesday outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)
x
Collin Nkadimeng, left, barters with a customer Tuesday outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)
Collin Nkadimeng, left, barters with a customer Tuesday outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)
But there are also those who see the demand, and are providing the supply.

A slew of entrepreneurs have shown up to make the most of an opportunity.
 
"I'm selling the merchandise of the ANC…it's my business," explained Godfrey Mooketsi, who was selling Mandela tablecloths and fabric, along with an ANC headscarf for women. Two meters of cloth sells for 100 rand, or $10. He hired someone to sell his goods on the street.
 
"I pay this guy.  I'm empowering somebody. Now Mandela is empowering me, because I'm selling Mandela stuff," Mooketsi said, adding that he feels it is what Mandela would want.

But not everyone has been happy with this large group of local and foreign media.

Behind a chain link fence, Fatima Bele, her sister and a friend run a fruit and snack stand every day. On a normal day, the stand would be visible to everyone walking by. But two satellite trucks and a white tent are now set up right on her doorstep, making it nearly impossible to see her stand from the street.
 
"Most of the customers they don't' even come," Bele complained. "They are afraid of the media. And they park in front of the business, there's no way to pass. So really it’s very quiet. I'm not making money for the whole month."

Eight petrol-powered generators are also running non-stop in front of her stand, emitting fumes and making the area sound like a truck stop.
 
"Every day I'm having a headache. I'm tired and I'm fed up," she said. "We don't know when it is finishing from the beginning we are happy to see the media people, but now we are tired."

Some of the items of Collin Nkadimeng's stand on the street outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)Some of the items of Collin Nkadimeng's stand on the street outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)
x
Some of the items of Collin Nkadimeng's stand on the street outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)
Some of the items of Collin Nkadimeng's stand on the street outside of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela has been treated since June 8. (Photo: Peter Cox / VOA)
But there are many who did not have an income before, but who are now making the most of the situation.

Apartment owners with balconies facing the hospital are renting out space to international camera crews and apartment dwellers are charging these long-term street guests five rand (50 cents) to use the apartment building's lobby bathroom.

Xhola Sikutshwa and two friends set up a table in front of their apartment to sell cold drinks, like water and coke, and sundry items like cigarettes, matches, and homemade pies.

He is happy to take advantage of the opportunity.
 
"I think for these people being here, like journalists all over the world, I think they made a difference into our lives because we are getting something out of them," Sikutshwa said. "We are very much happy about this. Like I said, the old man is still fighting for us while he is still lying there, you know, because we are getting something out of that."

For Mooketsi, it has been lucrative.
 
"It's been awesome so far. So far so good," he said happily. "When I come here on Friday in my bank account I had like 30,000 (Rand or $3,000). At the moment I have about 45,000, which means I put 15,000 into my bank account from Friday, which is pretty good."
 
With a profit of about $1,500 in four days, Mooketsi said he will keep at it while he can.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Humey Nwokolo Esq from: Enugu, Nigeria.
July 04, 2013 8:52 AM
I wish Madiba well. When will this waiting game end? People should go about their businesses. Its not yet time for Madiba to go. At the appointed time, he will pass on quietly in his sleep at the comfort of his home. He is a peaceful man, he'll pass on peacefully. I join the world in wishing him well.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.