Ralton Sergey has become a known second-hand book seller by Gautrain commuters at the Johannesburg Park Station
Rally, who is originally from Durban, said he didn’t know that one day he would be a well known roadside book seller.
His books are very catching to the eye of every Gautrain and Jo’burg train commuter who passes by Park Station in the morning and afternoon.
“Many passengers buy my books in bulk,” he said.
“I started this business from nowhere, so that I can inspire others who are still suffering with drug addiction.”
Rally became a drug addict in 2009 when he went to Cape Town to study.
“I was mingling with bad boys every weekend in Cape Town night clubs.”
“The girls I was going out with introduced me to cocaine at the bar where I started working as a barman”
Rally started supplying his boss with cocaine customers. For seven years Rally was a cocaine addict while at the same time making money by earning a percentage from every customer he supplied to his boss. His boss, who was the bar manager, was making money by selling cocaine and running the bar.
“One day, I poked my boss at the bar, and my relationship with him went sour.”
“My manager wanted to rob me. I brought him a customer and he didn’t want to give me my commission.”
After that evening, Rally had to run for his life to Jo’burg. After arriving in Jo’burg with no family or any relatives he had to spend his life in the street and at night sleeping outside under buildings.
“I was sleeping in that building,” he said as pointing at the Transnet building opposite Park Station.
One day his friend, who had also become homeless due to addiction to cocaine, and who was also sleeping outside under the Transnet building, told him about a rehab centre called Shalom.
“He told me he could show me a rehab centre in Jo’burg if I was interested,”
Rally said he went to Shalom, or Place of Peace, rehabilitation centre for three months, and an additional six months for preparation to go back to restarting life in society. “This was about counselling and teaching about how to be again useful in society,” he said.
“One day I borrowed R30 from a friend and I started selling a cigarette since I was passing most of the time on the street,”
One of the Gautrain commuters who used to pass there every morning brought him a huge box of books. He was from Soweto. He said he had no space for those used books anymore.
“I didn’t know what to do with those books,” he said
“I begged him to take his books somewhere else, because I didn’t know what to do with those books, but he insisted that I was the best person to keep them.”
Later on, he got an idea to expose the books on a crate alongside the road, until a white lady came and saw one of the books that was interesting to her.
“’How much is the book?’ she asked me. At first, I didn’t know how much I was gonna sell that book for.”
“I just said R40 randomly,”
“Then the lady exclaimed, ‘R40? If that’s the case, then I’m going to take four books,’ she said. Then she took four books, and I made R160 which was a lot for me that day.” Rally said.
Now Rally owns a stand full of best seller books and sells also sweets and cigarettes on the side.
“Today, I have got big suppliers of books, and I can support myself, pay my rent and my family has accepted me back”.
Rally said that his prime dream for now is to open a book shop.
“That would be a big relief for me, because PRASA is now giving me trouble. They don’t want me to expose my books here anymore, even though I have been selling books here for almost two years now,” he said with a sad face.
“I wanted to graduate in electronics, but that may follow later. For now I want to focus on this business first.”
To support Rally and his used books business, find him at Park Station, or contact us for more details.