We news addicts have had a wild political party on here the whole weekend long thanks to Claudia Meads and MarkH, which has left some of us disillusioned about our country.
So this morning being back at work and getting on with life, I am going to share with you all a very inspirational story of a young man called Philemon. We have over the last 2 years westernised him and no we all call him Phil here at work.
It was in the middle of winter in 2010 when I stopped at the office one morning and as I was getting out of the car, I was approached by this young black man in a terrible state of neglect. Dirty, torn clothes and timid.
“Baas don’t you have a job for me” He quietly asked. Maybe ask isn’t the right word, because his eyes were begging.
I wanted to know how far he had gotten at school and to my horror I was told he only made it up to Grade 8. Now what on earth was I going to do with a Grade 8er in my company?
I don’t know who or what spoke to me that morning but somehow I knew I had to give this young man a break. Maybe it was the respectful manner in which he called me “baas”. I know everybody on here will attack me about racist supremacy to even mention this form of addressing a white man, but to me that spoke of a kid that knew how to respect older people, irrespective of what race they are.
When my driver arrived at work, I sent him and the young man back to my house so our domestic worker could get this young man washed up and the driver was instructed to go to Woolworths and buy him some clothes.
A few hours later back comes our Phil looking like something from another planet! The moment he walked back into my office with his new clothes I knew a star was born!
As sneaky and devious as I am, I printed some articles from News24 (selected of course so I could instil some political discipline) and made him sit at a desk and write those articles out for me. For a month he did nothing else but write all day long.
He was living with an aunt in Soweto, but at that stage that was all I knew about his housing.
When I was satisfied with his newly acquired writing skills, I handed him over to one of the older guys in the company to take him to building sites to do assessments for me of work in progress. He was then made to write me reports at the end of the working day. You should see the reports this Grade 8er writes today!
We had the “father/son” chat about AIDS and condoms and I made sure I drilled the message in loud and clear. I wasn’t investing in people’s education just to have them screw themselves into an early grave.
During his travels to the respective sites someone taught him how to drive…..say no more because thankfully nothing happened and there weren’t any insurance claims!
When we shut shop last year for the Christmas season he came to me at our year-end function and said he wants to work alone now. Brave and proud he stood there and announced his desire to become an independent man.
I said only if he gets a driver’s licence. I don’t care how, but he is not going to drive around with a company car and no licence.
When we opened shop this year he proudly put the driver’s licence on my desk! I didn’t ask how this happened within a month. We all know how these things happen by now.
So I gave him 3 days off, gave him a budget and parameters and sent him off to go search for a car and then notify me when he has gotten the car.
He turned 20 last November, so you can imagine the excitement!
It was a Friday afternoon when I arrived at the dealer to approve the purchase and arrange the payment. It wasn’t the car, or his achievement that was a moment to remember for life, but the emotions of this young man.
It was a hardened salesman that sold him the car and as we both stood there handing him the keys we watched the tears streaming down Phil’s cheeks. Short before long they might as well have brought all of us some Kleenex. A very moving moment that turned out to be.
So Phil got his wheels and became independent and with pride would walk into my office everyday with his report sheets. 20 years old and I don’t have to doubt a thing he reports back to me.
But there were times when I walked past his desk and find him sitting with a sad expression on his face. When I would ask what was wrong, he would say nothing.
Last Tuesday morning just before our very long weekend started I called him to discuss some matters he was to report back on once I have reached our weekend destination. During the conversation I again noticed the sad expression on his face.
I looked at him and said he needs to sit down over the long weekend and write a letter to me telling me about the cause of this sadness I sometimes see. I said I know there is something and I want to know what it is so I can help him deal with it because he can’t allow unresolved issues plaguing him all his life.
He handed me the letter this morning and I’m not going to discuss the content but suffice to say that it is a horrible cruel world out there for these kids. I wish I could share the contents so all of you can learn about the abuse these kids have to endure.
We all sit grootbek here behind our keyboards and judge the world out there from our condescending heights, but we have no clue about the realities these orphans of the ANC have to deal with!
But my plea this morning is to every one of my white brothers and sisters reading this; please let us each take one kid and show them a better way forward. We can’t expect the ANC, bad as they are, to create opportunities for everyone. Let us that know better, take these kids one by one and save them for the love of our motherland.
This country is not made up of soil. This country is made up of people that desperately need us to help them get to a better place in life.
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