Cape Town ‘s beach vendors are nowadays doing far more than shouting “a lolly to make you jolly” and a “sucker to make you wakker”.
In a first for Cape Town and South Africa, these enthusiastic salesmen who have become part of Cape Town’s famous beach culture, are now being empowered to do far more than selling snacks. Thanks to the Sea Point-based Eco Waste Group who is driving the pilot project, a group of beach vendors is now also equipped in basic first aid and other emergency skills.
The project, First Responder Initiative, is underway at three of the Mother City’s beaches and has the backing of the City of Cape Town. Project co-ordinator Gabi Altamirano, says the idea comes from the NSRI’s Waterwise Project which provides life-saving and first aid skills to people in rural areas. Beach vendors are now receiving the same kind of training to equip them to deal with certain beach emergencies. Each vendor has his own, sponsored cell phone and first kit which will allow them to notify lifeguards, need be, and deal with less serious injuries. Atamarino says these colourful characters now know who to call and when to assist. She told Smile 90.4FM that it was hopefully only a matter of time before all Cape Town’s beach vendors will be empowered in this manner.
So, if next time you see a beach vendor speaking on a cell phone, just know – he may actually be saving a life!