How many of us dare take risks and, with no doubt, believe that the outcome will be as expected? Who would’ve thought a street kid would seize the moment and give it all he had?
Solomuzi, a 12-year old from the streets of Ntshongweni was young, handsome and creative but hooked up with the wrong people and, through them, he learned about drugs. Solomuzi was a talented boy: an orator, artist and poet but he loved drawing the most. He was in the street but his mind and soul were in better places. He would use cardboard and coal to do his drawings, and some nights he would recite his poems to the people he lived with and those that were trespassing. Art made his life a little bit easier and, through art, he taught himself English.
One day, he drew a picture of a family gathered together having lunch. For half an hour, he stared at his drawing and tears fell, for he never had been with his family and didn’t know how it felt to have a family. Someone was watching him, Luyanda Shange. He walked toward Solomuzi, greeted him nicely and put his arm over his shoulder. For the first time in his entire life, Solomuzi felt safe and loved. Luyanda then requested that he come to live with him and told him that being born in the street didn’t mean you should die in the street; and that if he has dreams, he should go after them.
Luyanda took Solomuzi to his home. Although some people thought he was losing it, he was willing to take the risk. Luyanda was married to Nomathemba and they had two children: Wandile and Syamthanda. At first they made Solomuzi feel like he wasn’t family, made him think of going back to the streets, but as time went on, they accepted him. He was 13 when he started his Grade 1 and he was teased for being the oldest in the class but he didn’t care about it because he knew where he was heading. He met Andile Sithole, one of the top students and became friends with him. They put their friendship aside when they wrote tests; it was a competition.
In Grade 8, Luyanda took Solomuzi to a place where he could sell his drawings and earn himself pocket money. He saved that money for his tertiary while continuing to outdo the suburban kids in school. Then came Matric. Jealousy arose in Luyanda’s children, because he was getting grades they didn’t get in their Matric. This mentally and emotionally disturbed him and led to him failing his second term. He spent a lot of time thinking of how evil people can be leaving him in the street at an early age. Andile told him that he shouldn’t mind his siblings, it was their dad who invited him to stay with them and he should remember why he took him in.
On the other hand, Luyanda told him that when he took him in, he did it out of love and because he wanted to help Solomuzi make his dream come true. This conversation helped him to gain focus on his studies. His failure shocked everyone, especially his teachers. They complained about his performance and he assured them that he would work hard to get back on his feet. He fought hard to get a bursary, so he put in extra hours and pushed hard, no matter how difficult and stressful it was. He wanted to make his family and teachers proud and move Andile out of his comfort zone. He did all of this, and he got his bursary from FunDza to do pharmacy.
It’s true when they say: “The moment you set your eyes on the prize, no one can ever sway you”. When he completed his pharmacy degree, he started his internship in Simphiwe Mcoyi’s Pharmacy. He built his empire, got married to Precious who he had been dating since high school. Together, united, they made his dream come true with three children. During a family gathering, Luyanda came with his family and brought a framed present. It was his drawing and this made Solomuzi cry. Luyanda said: “Everything is possible when you set your mind to it and work towards achieving it”.
Never judge a book by its cover and never jump to a conclusion about someone’s future by looking at their current situation. Never forget to help those in need of your help.