The youngest child in many families is usually spoiled and given more than his older siblings. This wasn’t true for Thando who watched his brothers and sisters go from school to university to obtain qualifications.
Things were different for him because his mother, a nurse and the sole breadwinner, started to experience financial difficulties. Although she wanted him to have a good education, the situation worsened when Thando was in grade 12 because his mother could no longer afford to pay for his boarding and school fees. He often didn’t have stationery or enough to eat.
Thando could not hold back his tears as he shared his worse moments in boarding school. “My mother could not visit me and all I had in my cupboard was some porridge and juice concentrate which I lived on for three weeks,” he said. “Sometimes I would miss classes because the fees were not paid. I had bad friends.
We drank and smoked and we would steal from people in the town near the school,” he said. His lack of attendance showed in his school results. After completing matric, he stayed at home for two years doing very little. “I applied for bursaries but nothing came of it because my matric results were so bad,” said Thando.
In 2006, while at home without a job or money to further his studies, his sister invited him to the church. Thando did not hesitate to go as he was in a desperate need of a change.
He took part in the chains of prayers on Mondays for his finances and in these meetings he received a new vision on life. In that year he was given a bursary. Thando enrolled for a diploma in branding and marketing. Six months after completing the course, he managed to secure a permanent job in the advertising industry.
In the same year he met his soul mate, Amanda, in the church and they were married in less than a year. “God never stopped blessing me. I am happily married and I recently bought a new car,” he said.
Universal News spoke to Thando’s mother, Mama Mahlathi, about the changes in her son’s life. “The fact that I was not able to contribute to Thando’s education, used to cause me a lot of pain. The worst moment was when he got out of control at the boarding school. I had sleepless nights because I was worried about the kind of life he lived. However I thank God for what he has done in my son’s life. Today Thando is an obedient and a responsible young man. He is always there for us as his family,” she said.