'I have no words, my child will be able to finish her matric': R120 000 raised for Nellie in just two days

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  • More than R120 000 has been donated for Nellie Khuzwayo's matric year fees.
  • Nickey Seger, who has been funding Nellie's school fees for 10 years, was unable to fund her final-year fees alone due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The Khuzwayo family said they were overwhelmed and thankful to all those who donated. 

"A promise is a promise."

These are the words of Johannesburg fitness specialist and wellbeing coach Nickey Seger, who made a promise to a matric pupil a decade ago that she would pay off the teenager's R75 600 school fees.

The 48-year-old Seger has been paying off Nellie Khuzwayo's school fees for the past 10 years, but due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, she was unable to cover the costs alone this year.

On Thursday morning, News24 reported that Seger was in the process of running the equivalent of seven marathons to pay off the teenager’s school fees. The goal was to reach R75 600.

FEEL GOOD | To keep a 10-year promise, Joburg woman plans to run 295km to fund Nellie's matric

At midday on Thursday afternoon, the BackaBuddy campaign reached a whopping R100 000 from generous donors, both locally and internationally.

By Friday evening, the amount had escalated to R120 949.73.

"I am in complete disbelief. I haven’t even started running yet and we managed to cover Nellie's entire final school year's fees in just a couple of days. What an overwhelming accomplishment, I'm blown away by the pure generosity of so many kind people in this world. I honestly cannot thank everyone that's donated enough," Seger gushed.

She added that, on Tuesday when she plans to start her running, she will do it with "immense proudness".

"I don't think the Khuzwayo family and I anticipated this huge amount to come through. The goal was to reach just enough to pay off her school shoes, but now Nelly will be able to pursue her nursing career next year. Gosh, this is so exciting!"

Speaking to News24 from his Cosmo City home, an emotional Goodwill Khuzwayo, Nellie's father, said that when Seger had called him to tell him the news, he had burst out crying.

"I had no words. I just covered my eyes with my hands, and I burst out crying. I am so humbled. I still get emotional when I think about it. My child will be able to finish her matric year and go study to be a nurse next year. This is any parents' dream, and I am overwhelmed with the many good, kind-hearted people living among us," he said.

'She's our angel'

According to the bubbly teenager, becoming a nurse has always been a passion of hers.

"I want to become a nurse so I can fix my daddy, so that he can walk again. I want to be the one to nurse him back to good health. And I'm so eternally grateful to every donor that has contributed to my schooling," Nellie said.

The Khuzwayo family said life hasn’t always been easy for them since Goodwill’s taxi accident in 2001, which left him with permanent injuries.

"Life changed drastically for me. I’m on crutches and lost my spark for life. Lots of thoughts ran through my mind on how I will be able to provide for my family. I even had thoughts of suicide,” said Goodwill.

When Seger told him that she planned to start a BackaBuddy account to fund his daughter’s school fees, he hadn’t thought it would work, he admits

"People have been suffering due to the pandemic, not many have money to donate, and I honestly thought nothing will come out of it. But Nicky insisted we put our trust in her and see what happens. Nicky is very persistent and eager. If she sets her mind to something she will stop at nothing to fulfil it," Goodwill said.

The proud "girl dad" said he owed so much to Seger.

"She really has done wonders for me and my family. She’s our angel. I continue to thank God for letting her walk through the doors at Scuba City, and I'm very proud to call her my friend," Goodwill said.

'It's definitely a happy shock'

He and Seger have been friends since 2005 when she arrived at the company as a new driving instructor.

"Goodwill had shown me the ropes at the company we worked at. He had been working there for very long. He never knew me, but made it his mission to teach me everything about the business. We formed a friendship like no other, and I’m eternally grateful for him," she said.  

Seger will run 14 consecutive half marathons, a total of 295.4km. She will start on 1 February  and end, symbolically, in front of Nellie’s high school, Ruimsig Montessori, on 14 February.

According to Goodwill, when they told Nellie of the "phenomenal" news, they had sat in tears and disbelief.

"My daughter is still in shock, but it’s definitely a happy shock. As long as she’s been alive, she’s been telling us she wants to become a nurse, and now she’s one step closer to fulfilling her dream. We are so happy. We will forever be thankful to the many hands that donated," he said.

Seger said that, once she had completed her runs, the money collected would then be handed over to Nellie’s school to cover her fees. The remainder would be placed in a bank account for her studies. 

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