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"The early bird catches the juicy worm", said a young businessman while he was chatting to a Grocott's Mail reporter on Monday. Sizakhele (not his real name) is a street seller selling a colorful collection of ladies handbags around town and has an unusual sales tactic. What he sells is common but the price he asks for will blow your mind. When people ask him how much his bags cost he aks them how much gold they have. "I trade gold for a bag, no cash. I don’t want cash," he insists."Gold for bag, nothing more, nothing less.
A bystander asks him: “How do you know how much gold for which type of bag?" He answers that he weighs the gold "by feeling" and even has a chemical on hand that he uses to test if the gold is real or fake. He also doesn't mind if the gold is in raw form; for him it's acceptable as payment for a imitation leather bag or a faux patent leather purse. He trades his merchandise for gold earrings, rings and necklaces. He says one gold earring will buy you a purse and two gold earrings will buy you one of his bags. One intrigued customer gave him her gold wedding ring to 'evaluate'- he put a small drop of his chemical on the ring and waited for a few seconds. Sizakhele insists that if it changes to a copper sheen it means it's real gold. When asked how many bags the gold wedding band could buy, he said, without hesitating, two bags and a purse! Sizakhele claims he has been doing this for a long time and mostly visits township to ply his trade because "that's where the gold is".
This time he decided to try his luck within the CBD. Sizakhele comes from Zululand and has been living in Soweto for the better part of his life, but now lives in Grahamstown and only goes back to Johannesburg to buy new stock. He is hoping to do well during the Festival. He sells his gold to a company in Johannesburg who in turn melts it down and pays him according to the weight. He prefers it that way as it pays more. He says cash doesn't interest him, flippantly saying, “Money is what was used to sell Jesus,” referring to when Judas 'sold' Jesus for 30 silver pieces. How does that add up?