‘I chose this topic as I have had countless interactions with female traders and I wanted to tell their story. I also focused solely on women that had migrated to Durban from the rural areas who are now involved in the informal economy,’ explained Nxumalo.
She hopes that her research will spur Municipal officials into action to address the real challenges traders face on a daily basis. ‘Informal traders do not even have proper sanitised toilets, they work under appalling conditions [and] most get wet alongside their stock when it rains due to inadequate infrastructure,’ said Nxumalo. ‘The findings were truly disheartening. Some women make about R1 000 a month and still have to financially support their families. I believe my study will help highlight the seriousness of the challenges that they face so Municipal officials can do something to assist the traders.’
Nxumalo battled anxiety and stress. ‘Research is really challenging. I also moved out of home for the first time last year so the transition of having to live alone was hard. People don’t realise that students really do suffer from anxiety and stress and some even deal with depression due to deadlines and submissions,’ she added.
Nxumalo thanked her family, friends and supervisor Professor Pranitha Maharaj. ‘My mom is currently doing her PhD at UKZN so it was good having someone who understood exactly what you were going through and how hard it can be. She always knew what to say.’
Her advice to other students is to believe in themselves: ‘I have seen people slowly give up with their research because of self-doubt. They need to know they are where they are meant to be for a reason and should not worry about how far their friends are with their research but just focus on themselves.’