Jimmy was a 19-year-old boy who wasn’t good at school but was talented in art. He lived with his mother while his father was in exile. His talents included drawing, building and painting. His mother was unsupportive of him because she didn’t believe that drawing could be a career and no matter what Jimmy did, his mother just refused to understand that books weren’t his strong point.

“Mom, can I please draw you?” asked Jimmy.

His mother laughed and replied, “Don’t be silly, do you think you can draw this big, fat and ugly face of mine?”

Jimmy was so disappointed. His mother wasn’t proud of him and discouraged the idea of him being an artist. Jimmy never knew his father but his mother told him that he was a hero during the apartheid days. They didn’t believe that his father will ever come back home from exile, perhaps he had a new life and family wherever he was.

Mr Johnsons was Jimmy’s former art teacher at school and he’d seen that Jimmy was more creative than the rest of the class. One morning Jimmy visited Mr Johnsons in his office. The teacher was so surprised to see him again after he had dropped out of school when he failed matric.

“What a lovely surprise to see you, what is it?”

Jimmy then explained everything to him about his mother not believing in him and the talent he had in art. Sir Johnsons suggested that Jimmy should do something very helpful for the whole community, and when his mother saw this, she would have no choice but to support him and to be proud of him.

“Wow, Sir, that’s a fantastic idea! Thank you so much, I knew I could count on you,”

Jimmy was so happy and left the office so quickly with so much joy on his face. He was walking alone in the street, thinking of what that something helpful could be that would make the community and his mother proud of him. He arrived home late; it was getting dark and his mother was very upset with him and scolded him. She was concerned about her son’s safety. Jimmy apologized endlessly but he didn’t tell her anything because he knew that would ruin his plans.

The week was coming to an end but still nothing had happened.

Jimmy was confused but he couldn’t give up, he knew he had to do it. Later that day he was sitting with his mother and she told him about this late artist called Zakes.

“Don’t be like Zakes, he also was an artist. He had a plan to build a statue of a lion since this small town of ours is called Lionside Town.”

Jimmy was now getting interested and wanted to know more about this Zakes guy. He discovered that Zakes committed suicide because his idea wasn’t a success and people laughed at him and it was because of pride that he killed himself. Jimmy now saw an opportunity to also try to build a huge lion in the community.

He didn’t tell his mom about this idea. The question was, where would he find the resources to make his dream come true? He thought about it! I have to think and act, like an artist.

He started to ask for donations of money, paint or cements from families. Some gave and others didn’t. He stored them in the store room at his home and his mother asked what they were for? He lied, saying he and his friends were planning to build a dog’s house.

He started building the statue a bit far from his home. He left the house at dawn and came back in the evening, dirty.

“Hey you! Where do you come from and why are so dirty?” his mom asked.

Jimmy answered, “Mom, I told you that my friend and I were planning to build a dog’s shelter, now we have started.”

His mother didn’t have a problem with that. People were starting to see Jimmy’s works and were proud. Jimmy wrote a post where he was building his statue.


People loved his idea and the resources kept on rolling because they were now starting to see what he was doing. After three weeks the statue was done. Jimmy went back to Mr Johnsons and suggested that he come and see his work. When Mr Johnsons arrived, all he could say was “Wow!”

The following day they called the people of Lionside Town to gather for the unveiling of the statue. Indeed the whole community gathered, including his teacher. He now had to rush home to fetch his mother.

“Mom, you are invited to my friend’s home for lunch to celebrate the success of that dog’s shelter I told you about,”

His mother dressed up quickly then off they went.

They were now approaching that statue. People hid themselves and Jimmy and his mother stood before the covered statue.

His mother asked, “Jimmy what’s going on here?”

Then boom! A bunch of people appeared yelling “Surprise!”

Jimmy stepped forward, near the statue, and gave a speech for his mom.

“I’ve always wanted your support but I couldn’t get it, but I don’t blame you, I understand your reasons. I’ve always wanted to prove to you that I’m a true artist. Maybe this statue will open your eyes. All thanks to my teacher for giving me hope and for motivating me.”

Jimmy slowly dragged the fabric that covered that statue. The people were amazed to see that lion, big and strong with its mouth widely opened, showing sharp teeth. This symbolized a brave, strong and a confident nation, all thanks to Jimmy.

You could see the tears coming from Jimmy’s mother. She was speechless. She gave her son a big hug! This was a turning point for Jimmy because sponsors from other countries could look for him. Jimmy went overseas to study arts and came back as a well-known artist. His mother was so proud of him.


Tell us: Would you have courage to stand up for your dreams like Jimmy did?