TO “live like a king, one must work like a slave,” is the old adage by which Stanley Khumalo has modelled his life on and if the many children he has helped through school are anything to go by, it is certainly paying huge dividends.
Khumalo (64) is the proverbial philanthropist and his personal project code-named “Sindwane Fund” seeks to assist in the education of orphans and vulnerable children, a particularly welcome gesture in these days of HIV and Aids which has left thousands of children parentless in its wake.
“In 2008, I realised I had only one child left who I was sending to school. She is studying Medicine at the National University of Science and Technology,” said Khumalo in an interview.
“I decided with Christian conviction, because I am a Seventh Day Adventist, that ‘to give is blessed than to receive,’ and that I should sponsor the education of 10 children.
“I chose orphans with no one to support their education. I asked the schools to give me names of orphans who were experiencing difficulties in paying school fees.”
Khumalo started his personal project in 2008 and he has christianed it Sindwane Fund . It seeks to assist in the education of orphans and vulnerable children.
The fund involves paying school fees and buying stationery for such children and currently, there are 10 beneficiaries at schools in Bulawayo’s high-density suburbs.
“I had been paying school fees for nine of my children and it was very difficult,” he explains.
Pupils who were supported when they were in Grade Seven in 2008 are now in Form Four and and Khumalo expects them to do well in their “O” Level examinations. There are four at Mpopoma High School, one at Magwegwe Secondary School and another one at Pumula Secondary School.
Khumalo is also supporting two children at Nyamande Primary School, one at Ngubo Primary School and another at the Seventh Day Adventist-run Pelandaba Primary School.
“I think it’s a worthy cause and I hope just like my children, they can do well in their education and be respectable people in society,” he said.
His successful children include a mechanic, a hotel administrator, a lecturer in computer science in Botswana, an auditor in Pretoria, a teacher, a hotel manager in the United Kindom and a computer programmer in Pretoria, South Africa. The programme is funded from Khumalo’s salary as an environmental health technician with the Bulawayo City Council.
Apart from supporting the children with school fees, Khumalo also took the children on educational trips to Victoria Falls in 2009 and Kariba in 2010.
“The idea is to give these disadvantaged children something to motivate them which other children enjoy. But the trips are educational and afterwards they have to write essays or compositions based on the trips.
“For the trips, I am getting financial assistance from my children who I sent to school and are doing well. I have managed to buy them T-Shirts with the inscription ‘Endurance is the key to success’ which they wear on these trips. This is my motto and I also believe in (the adage) ‘live like a king, work like a slave’,” Khumalo explains. A self-confessed disciplinarian, Khumalo insists on tracking the performance of the children whom he sponsors just as he did with his biological children.
“If we could all, including companies, sponsor the education of disadvantaged children, then we would make a difference to humanity. I would like to assist more children, but resources are a problem. My request is for land on which to start an income-generating project to raise money to sponsor more children.”
Khumalo lives in Richmond, Bulawayo, is married and has nine children of his own. He was born in Lower Gweru to a family of 10. He attended Lower Gweru Mission and Ascot in Gweru where he completed “O” Levels.
After school, he trained as an environmental health technician at Domboshawa Training Institute. He joined the Bulawayo City Council in 1974 where he is still employed as an environmental health technician.
Beneficiaries’ comments: Lwazi Ncube, who is a bursar at Mpopoma High School: “Khumalo is paying school fees for four children who are in Form Four at our school. He has been paying for them since they were in Form One and I understand he started paying for them while there were at primary school. Three of the pupils are in the science class. What is even good is that during holidays, he takes them on trips to tourist destinations like Victoria Falls and Kariba. Last time, he wanted to take them to Mozambique, but the children’s families could not do their part of obtaining passports for them. So the trip could not take off.”
Pupil supported with school fees at Seventh Day Adventist Primary School: “I am grateful for the assistance that Khumalo has given me through paying my school fees so that I can be a better person tomorrow.”
Khumalo pays the school fees from his own salary and for the holiday trips, he asks those of his children who are now working to assist him.