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

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9043
JPY
USD
123.19
GBP
USD
0.6445
CAD
USD
1.3030
INR
USD
64.170

Rates may not be current.