Single mum turns to Twitter for R10 prepaid power and gets an unexpected surge of kindness

Thabisa Xhelithole's prepaid electricity meter.
Thabisa Xhelithole's prepaid electricity meter.
Twitter

A single mother of two from Cape Town got much more than she expected when she asked for a R10 prepaid electricity voucher on Twitter on Sunday. Her tweet included a picture of her prepaid meter displaying 0.00 kWh. 

Thabisa Xhelithole‏'s tweet soon started circulating and tweeps opened their pockets, recharging her electricity by buying vouchers ranging from between R30 and R100.

By Wednesday, the 33-year-old had received thousands of units from well-doers, had been interviewed on national television and raised money to pay for her son's school fees. 

"I am very surprised, I can't believe what is happening to me," Xhelithole‏ told News24. 

Cash-strapped and not wanting to ask her neighbours for help, she instead turned to Twitter. 

"I don't use social media that often and have only been on Twitter since last year. Social media uses too much data," Xhelithole‏ said. 

But despite her relatively small social media footprint, her initial tweet has since been retweeted more than 6 000 times, has received more than 15 000 likes, plus she has racked up more than 3 000 followers. 

"They helped me a lot. Not only by buying me electricity but they also paid for my son's school fees and for food and other things I need."

Xhelithole‏, who has been working at an MRP Home store since 2006, has two children - a 10-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl - whom she raises by herself. 

She did not expect such a huge reaction at all. "I never even checked [how many followers]. I'm not into social networks, this was my first time, now I'm trending. I only opened my Twitter [account] last year. It uses all the data.

"It's unbelievable. People are still loading electricity. I told them that I'm fine now, but they are still loading.

"I don't know how to thank these people - they helped me a lot," Xhelithole‏ said.

"I have no words to express the love that people from all walks have shown me. I will keep everyone posted with the extra miles that I was also blessed. May God bless you all," she tweeted. 

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