Man supporting siblings is excited to study again

2014-10-03 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG youngster who’d almost given up on his life is grateful for the chance of a brighter future, thanks to President Jacob Zuma.

Thulebone Maphumulo (21) of Imbali township said he was speechless when the president told him on his visit to the city this week that he will receive financial support to further his studies through the Jacob Zuma Foundation Trust.

“I felt numb. I didn’t know what to say. I am extremely excited,” Maphumulo told The Witness yesterday.

The young man said he had aspired to be a chartered accountant. “I had lost hope, but now the future is certain. I’m grateful and I won’t disappoint.”

He had to quit human resource studies at the Durban University of Technology to look after his three siblings, aged 12, 10 and seven years old.

They were orphaned when their mother died of illness in 2011.

Maphumulo said their father went missing while he was young and the police assumed that he’d died.

“Heading the home is no child’s play. After my mother’s death, our neighbours, friends and family supported us with food,” he said emotionally.

He completed his matric at Mehlokazulu Secondary School last year before doing a short stint in DUT.

While he was studying in Durban, his friend, Lungani Mhlongo, looked after the little ones. Maphumulo was, however, forced to come back home after Mhlongo got a job.

“I was hurt when I had to leave school. But there was nothing I could do. I had no choice. I had to be strong for them [his siblings].”

After quitting DUT, he enrolled at Plessislaer FET College on part-time basis with the help of councillor Caiphus Ndawonde.

“Sometimes I don’t attend because I have to look for jobs to put food on the table.”

At this stage, Maphumulo does not yet know where he will now study or what course he will do. Although he wants to be a chartered accountant, he does not know if he will qualify, he said.

Dudu Myeni of JZ Foundation Trust has assured him she will be a “mother” to his siblings while he studies.

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