‘My mission in life is to survive’

2011-08-13 14:39

Tshepiso Makhafola’s energetic dance moves and shy smile hide a difficult and painful journey.

While some young people his age (22) are preoccupied with university and working their way up the corporate ladder, he has to be content with making sure he makes enough money to survive.

“My mother suffered a stroke while I was still at school and she has never been the same since,” he says.

“Since then I have been forced to fend for myself because even though I have a father, we don’t have a relationship and he has never supported me.”

The news of his mother’s stroke was a huge blow for Makhafola.

“She is both a mother and father to me and even though I knew that she could never have afforded to send
me to university, I could always rely on her support.

“I remember the day when I received a call from the clinic asking me to fetch my mom from the hospital,” said Makhafola.

“I had to quickly find a way of putting together petrol money for my aunt so we could drive from Mpumalanga, where I was visiting, to Pretoria,” he says.

To make matters worse, Makhafola failed his matric and was uncertain of the direction his life was taking.

Determined to make a success of it, Makhafola decided to give school one more try.

“I wanted to be like other kids because I knew that having that certificate was the key to success.”

He now makes a living by dancing with the Africa theatre and dance group in Newtown.

Although his part-time job has given him the opportunity to make something of his life, he is not satisfied with the way things are.

“I think the problem with the youth today is that we have lost respect for rules and we lack discipline,” he says, adding that the government needs to focus on making education more accessible for young people and offering support to those who need it.

But for now, his biggest concern ­is trying to find a permanent job even though he has yet to go and fetch his matric results after his second attempt.

“Sometimes I ask myself what the point is of going to get my results if I won’t be able to do anything with them in any case,” he sighs. 

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