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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.