Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 11-02-2020
A 42-year-old man has told Radio Islam how he went from living at the Lenasia Post Office for five years to becoming the first street kid at 26 to complete matric and studying for a qualification in banking after knocking on many doors before one finally opened.
While Lenasia and other communities in South Africa have many street kids, some have the drive, motivation and tenacity to work hard and lift themselves out of the doldrums of their situation to achieve phenomenal success.
The upliftment of the youth and possible future leaders of South Africa, while falls on the shoulders of government, should not deter residents of suburbs and communities across the country to make a difference.
Mandla was just 16-years-old when his mum left him and his dad in 1998.
His father remarried, but he never got along with his stepmother and he left home and found himself living on the streets.
Mandla says despite the beatings from other kids, including the police, he reached out for help from community activist Mickey Padiachy.
Mandla has urged streets kids never to give up, always question whether they want to continue living on the street, or if they want to achieve something better in life saying there is always someone willing to listen and open the door.
“As soon as you get that answer to yourself, then you know that there is always a hope for each and every street kid because all the street kids do make it in life as long as they set goals and people that are there to help. Helping one soul or helping one person at the end of the day is joy. So I will say to them, there’s hope, they just have to knock on the right doors.”
Mandla who now lives in Protea Glen has urged the various communities to assist street kids and not judge them based on their circumstances.
“People will always judge you as one color. They will paint you with one brush and say you are a street kid, you are the one that remained in the street, so you will steal. Not all of us will steal. Some of us we come to the street or belong to the street because there’s certain issues that we are facing at home. Hence, we find ourselves in the street. So I will say they just have to believe in them and willing to help as well.”
Mandla who is now married and works as a sales consult for Absa says he hopes to complete his Advanced Banking Diploma and register for a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Commercial Law.
Listen to the interview with Mandla Tshabalala