Something inside me says sing, sing louder – petrol attendant steals the hearts of motorists

2016-08-16 08:30
Cradock petrol attendant Mthetheleni Gxoyiya, 28, (Supplied to News24)

Cradock petrol attendant Mthetheleni Gxoyiya, 28, (Supplied to News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

From parking attendant to 'Picasso'

2016-06-02 11:49

Watch this incredible story of a car guard-turned-art exhibitor. WATCH

Durban – The moments when Mthetheleli Gxoyiya does not sing are few and far between.

The 28-year-old petrol attendant sings when he is walking, sitting in the taxi, or while cleaning the windscreens of cars. He has captured the hearts of thousands of motorists who stop at the Total petrol station in Cradock, in the Eastern Cape. 

"There is something inside of me that says keep singing, sing louder," Gxoyiya says.

The father of one has touched the hearts of many since a video of him singing opera in his red uniform was posted on the internet. A motorist filmed him.

"I sing for our customers when I pump air into their tyres, when I fill up their petrol tanks, fill water into their engines and when I wash their windscreens. I think they enjoy it. They tip me R5 for the service and an extra R20 for the singing."

Gxoyiya, whose dream is to become a professional opera singer, was born in Cradock in 1988.

First solo

When he was in Grade 8, his cousin, Lonwabo, realised Gxoyiya could sing.

"He was the conductor of the choir at our church, the Apostolic Church. We were rehearsing for a church social gathering and he asked me to sing a solo in all the tenor pieces in the song.

"Later I started singing gospel with my brother and Lonwabo told me that I did not belong there, I belonged in choral and opera."

Gxoyiya said he listened to his cousin and started focusing on music.

In 2006, Gxoyiya went back to Cradock and did his Grade 10 at JA Calata High School.

"A teacher recognised that I could sing and in 2007 I was made to sing an opera composition of Mozart's Magic Flute."

Abandoned studies

He realised then that he was talented and never stopped singing.

While he showed promise in music, Gxoyiya failed his Grade 10 and 12 years.

"I was good at mathematics, but unfortunately my other subjects let me down."

After failing matric, Gxoyiya sat at home until 2012, when he tried to get a degree in electrical engineering in Queenstown. He had to abandon his studies because he needed to provide financial support to his then 1-year-old daughter.

"I went back home and found a job as a petrol attendant at the Shell garage where my father was working, but I was not permanent. In October 2013, the same day that I got my learner's licence, I received a phone call that they needed a petrol attendant at the Total garage."

He has worked there ever since.

Giving back to community

"I can't complain; everything is fine. The long hours are exhausting. I work 07:00 to 19:00 shifts."

His weekly salary depends on how many days he works. He takes home R1300 for working five days.

Gxoyiya's dream is to become a professional opera singer and give back to his community.

"I want to teach children in my community about opera, because in the rural areas and locations they only know about kwaito, hip hop and house music. They forget about classical music."

In his free time, Gxoyiya helps primary schools prepare for choral competitions.

So does he ever stop singing?

"It's rare," he says.

Favourite with motorists

"I sing most of the time. The day does not end without me singing. Sometimes I sing when I wake up and before I go to sleep. I find it therapeutic, it soothes my soul. I sing when I am happy and when I am sad."

His boss and the owner of the Total petrol station, Altus Theron, says Gxoyiya is a wonderful, highly-talented individual.

He was overwhelmed when he first heard Gxoyiya sing three years ago.

"Other petrol attendants join in, but they are not as good as him."

Theron hopes someone in the music industry will offer him a recording deal.

“Motorists love him. Some of our customers stop at the garage and ask to record him. They ask for him even when he is not at work, but unfortunately he cannot work seven days a week."

Read more on:    east london  |  good news

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.