Christmas has come early for the taxi driver who trended on social media recently for having persevered and got his teaching degree despite his demanding job ferrying passengers between Ivory Park and Sunninghill.
Sowetan newspaper reported on Friday that the taxi association that Nkazimulo Pelican Khumalo belongs has decided to give him the R52 500 he spent on his tuition.
According to the paper, the Ivory Park Taxi Association (Ipta) hailed the 28-year-old as a shining example among his colleagues and for the fact that he did not ask them for financial assistance even though he knows that the association helps a lot of pupils in Tembisa where he lives.
“I am very impressed he took his education serious,” Ipta chairperson Buti Mkhonza said, adding that it excited him to see taxi drivers doing something good for themselves.
The Star reported on Tuesday how Khumalo, who completed matric in 2010, decided to be a taxi driver after failing to get funding to go to university. His passengers encouraged him to not give up on his university dream but to save his earnings and further his studies.
He enrolled with Unisa in 2015 and obtained his teaching degree. He graduated 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.
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.