Pelican Khumalo decided to be a taxi driver after failing to get funding to go to university.
Passengers of the 27-year-old encouraged him to not give up on his university dream but to save his earnings and further his studies.
Khumalo listened to the wise counsel and is leaving the taxi business after qualifying as a teacher.
The taxi driver from Tembisa, in Ekurhuleni, completed his matric in 2010 and enrolled with Unisa in 2015. He graduated with a degree last week.
“I was the youngest at the taxi rank and people always asked why I was driving a taxi at my age and why I was not at school. They would always tell me about the importance of education. I then decided to start saving money for tuition fees and applied at Unisa,” said Khumalo.
He said he always wanted to be a teacher from a young age and enrolled for a certificate in education with Unisa in 2013.
“But because I didn’t have the money to further my studies, I joined the taxi industry,” said Khumalo.
He ranks from Ivory Park to Sunninghill, Joburg.
Khumalo said he was making about R700 a week from driving a taxi and paid R2000 a month for tuition fees.
As much as he was dedicated to his studies, Khumalo said it was difficult to balance the two.
“I needed to be up by 3am and start ranking. After dropping off passengers, I would rush to the library while the taxi was in the queue to load. The queue marshals would then call me when it was my turn,” said Khumalo.
However, he said he was now seeking employment. He can teach mathematics, isiZulu, life orientation and social sciences.
Khumalo stays with his unemployed mother and three siblings who are attending university through bursary funding.
Considering the high unemployment rate in South Africa, Khumalo still believes it was better to get an education for opportunities that may come in the future.
“A lot of young people are busy chasing fashion instead of investing in education.
“They think education doesn’t matter any more, but the truth is, you won’t know when your time will come.
“It’s better to stay prepared than just giving up, staying home and do nothing,” Khumalo said.