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People’s Choice: ‘…work like a slave’

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To ‘Live like a king, one must work like a slave’,” is the old adage by which Stanley Khumalo has modelled his life, and if the many children he is helping through school are anything to go by, it is certainly paying huge dividends.

Khumalo, 64, is the proverbial knight in shining armour, 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/AIDS which has left thousands of children without parents.

“In 2008, I realized I had only one child left who I was sending to school. She is doing medicine at the National University of Science and Technology,” said Khumalo in an interview.

“I decided, with the Christian conviction of a Seventh Day Adventist, that ‘to give is more blessed than to receive,’ and that I should sponsor the education of at least 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 paying school fees.”

Khumalo started his personal project in 2008 which he decided to call Sindwane Fund, and which seeks to assist in the education of orphans and vulnerable children.

It 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 have been paying school fees for nine of my children and it had been difficult,” explains Khumalo.

Pupils who were supported when they were in Grade Seven in 2008 are now in Form Four and and are expected 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 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,” says Khumalo.

His successful children include a mechanic, hotel administrator, lecturer in computer science in Botswana, auditor in Pretoria, teacher, hotel manager in the UK and a computer programmer in Pretoria.

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 to ‘Live like a King, Work like a Slave’,” explains Khumalo.

A self-confessed disciplinarian, he insists on tracking the performance of the children who he sponsors just as he did with his own 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, who lives in Richmond, Bulawayo, is married and has nine children of his own. He was born in Lower Gweru in a family of 10. He attended Lower Gweru Mission and Ascot in Gweru where he completed his “O” Levels.

After school he trained to be an environmental health technician at Domboshava Training Institute. He joined the Bulawayo City Council in 1974, where he is still employed as an environmental health technician.

Mr Khumalo finances the school fees from his own salary and for the holiday trips asks his children who are now working to assist him. He is appealing for land where he can start an income generating project.

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