Leslie Pearson

Big Issue|Issue 286

Leslie Pearson
Over the past 18 months, life has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride for Big Issue vendor Leslie Pearson. The veteran vendor tells us about some of his experiences.
ALICIA ENGLISH

Big Issue vendor Leslie Pearson has had a remarkable life journey, which has been intertwined with tragedy and triumph. The 65-year-old Leslie has devoted most of his life to caring for the elderly. “I was in the Rhodesian air force when I was young, and when I returned to South Africa in 1980, I looked after my elderly mother. I was her only family member and cared for her when she developed Alzheimer’s disease in her later years. I never married or had any children and sacrificed having a family of my own to take care of her,” he recalls.

Leslie joined The Big Issue in 2004 after falling on hard times. In 2007, he landed a job as a security officer at St Monica’s Old Age Home in Bokaap, where his mother lived when she became too frail to cope at home. He cared for her until she passed away, and “it was through her that I have this passion for the elderly”, Leslie says.

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Issue 286