Perspectives and experiences of female traders in securing a livelihood in the Warwick Market, Durban.
Nxumalo, Minenhle Senzekile.
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Informal trading serves as a survivalist strategy used by women across South Africa to sustain their livelihoods. Informal trading has grown at a fast rate due to the lack of employment opportunities in both the private and public sector. Informal trading is predominated by black women who are driven into the informal economy as a result of desperation to work in order to financially support themselves and their families. Women often migrate from the rural areas to the urban areas to seek employment opportunities. The poor are usually attracted to the urban areas due to opportunities available. However, due to the lack of education they find themselves involved in informal trading. Informal trading allows for women to sustain their livelihoods and be empowered as they are able to be independent. Informal traders generate an income through the exchange of goods alongside streets and sidewalks. The aim of this study was to shed insights into informal trading as a livelihood strategy amongst female traders. The study draws on qualitative data from semistructured interviews. In total there were 15 interviews conducted with females who were informal traders at Warwick Junction Market. The main reason women started informal trading was to eradicate poverty and to be able to financially provide for their families. This study found that informal traders’ daily working conditions were a challenge. Most traders did not have access to running water and properly sanitized toilets. Weather conditions such as the rain were found to be the biggest challenge, when it rained traders get wet alongside their goods. Despite the challenges, female traders continue to persevere as they are breadwinners and their families in the rural areas are highly dependent on them for survival. In order for informal traders. It can be suggested that the challenges informal traders face in securing their livelihoods were challenges that could be solved if Municipality officials would interact and work alongside informal traders.