A day in the life of a youthful market vendor

Sunday Nkata,28 has been an onion vendor in Nateete market in Kampala for the last three years, since 2020.

He says having finished his Advanced Level where he didn’t perform well,there were no resources to enable him to continue withu niversity, prompting him to find ways of fending for himself and his family.

“I had a friend who was working in Busega market as a wholesaler of onions who asked me to join the business,”the28-year-old Nkata says.

He explains that his friend allowed him to get onions on credit that he would pay later but he had nowhere to sell the items from.

According to Nkata,his friend helped him to secure a place where to vend the onions in the parking lot of Nateete market.

“In Nateete market,we usually sell in the morning between 6am and 10am when customers, especially those with families, restaurants and hotels come to buy onions. After this time, we are asked to leave the market’s parking for other people to use it.”

He adds that he pays shs2000 as market dues every day.

According to the 28-year-old, his day always begins as early as 4am when he wakes up to move from Bulobain Wakiso district to Busega market which are 9km apart to be able to buy the onions.

To ease his work, Nkata bought himself a second-hand motorcycle that he uses for his business.

“I reach Busega market at around 5am and I have to join the other vendors coming to pick onions but I have to make sure by 5:30am, everything is done and I jump onto my motorcycle to head to Nateete market where I sell my products from,” he says.

Nkata says that where as there are many vendors dealing in onions in Nateete market, most of them are able to finish off their products since there are many customers at this time of the day.

“Many people, especially nearby schools, hotels and restaurants take advantage of this time (between 6am and 10am) to come and buy cheap stuff. Therefore, by selling at this time, one is assured of customers.”

The28-year old says by 10am, he has either sold off everything or remaining with some little that he keeps for the next day.

He notes that here turns home at around mid-day to meet his young family including his two-year-old girl, adding that this is his routine from Monday to Saturday as he rests on Sundays.


Nkata says sometimes he finds difficulties leaving home to Busega and then to Nateete market for work after his second-hand motorcycle breaks down.

“Since my bike is old, it sometimes breaks down and this means I have to wait up to 6am to be able to leave home and this means I reach Busega and Nateete market late. Such days mean that I can’t sell all my merchandise but I also have to dig deep into my pockets to pay for transport, especially from Busega to Nateete market,” he says.

“Nevertheless, I am proud of my business that has enabled me to fend for my family and I am planning to do many things. I plan to expand my business to venture in wholesaling onions other than being a small market vendor.”

He adds that he plans to buy a plot and builds a house for his family.

“My advice to fellow youths is that there is no bad job. What you call a bad job is what has made many other prosper and look after their families. Ignore what others say about your business or job as long as you earn a fortune out of it. With time, the naysayers will keep quiet.”

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