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Ex-miner’s tough life moves man

Date Released: Mon, 25 February 2013 14:59 +0200

RU student helps fund studies

THE heart-warming story of an ex-miner who walked from Peddie to Cape Town to enrol in university has inspired a weekend car washer to help fund the old man’s theology studies.

Rhodes University journalism student Themba Jeremiah Nkosi – who also only realised his academic dreams later in life – said he was moved to tears when he read in the Dispatch how 57-year-old Michael Ntamo lived rough on the Mother City streets for a year before he was accepted in the University of the Western Cape (UWC) last month.

“I cried when I read the story,” the 43-year-old second-year student explained yesterday.

“It made me realise that it is never too late to pursue your dreams – whatever they are.”

The 43-year-old showed the Dispatch a fancy cellphone he specially bought for Ntamo after reading the story and was busy making plans yesterday with University of Western Cape officials to get it to him next week.

Although he earns a measly R400 a month washing cars for students, lecturers and taxi drivers at a nearby rank over weekends, Nkosi vowed to regularly send Ntamo a few hundred rands to help him survive.

“I am here today at Rhodes chasing my dreams because many people helped me when I was growing up... some I know and some I still don’t know.”

The son of a Newcastle domestic worker and her truck driver husband – who died when Nkosi was young – showed Saturday Dispatch a Gratitude Diary he has been keeping since the age of 15 detailing the daily things he has done to help others less fortunate than himself.

The daily entries include a heading “generosity angle” and entries from February 2007 range from sharing his lunch with a gardener, to helping people carry their bags of groceries, giving an old neighbour a diary, buying a cooldrink for a thirsty taxi driver and giving a car guard a lunchbox full of food.

“I give thanks everyday for the things I have. I was taught from a young age it is not about how much you earn but rather how you used the money.”

Instead of blaming his mother – who single-handedly raised four kids when his father died – for not paying for him to go to university years ago, Nkosi blames himself for his “poor planning”.

A firm believer in what goes around comes around, Nkosi says as long as you are genuine about helping others – instead of showing off – everything will be all right.

Ntamo, who dropped out of school in Peddie when he was 18 with a Standard 5 pass, worked for years on the mines before returning to school a few years ago and getting his matric.

He walked to Cape Town in November 2011 and was late to enrol and spent a year living on the streets before being accepted in UWC last month.

A dumbstruck Ntamo yesterday said he still could not believe the generosity of a person he had never met before.

“I am very grateful to Mr Nkosi because I didn’t think that there are people that would do good for a stranger.

“I am really speechless because I never really thought that my story would touch people.”

Ntamo said he was just telling his life’s story and did not expect such a reaction.

“May God bless him and I am sincerely grateful.”

By DAVID MACGREGOR

Source: Daily Dispatch

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