A real man’s story of triumph over adversity

4 December 2008

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Western Cape Premier Lynne Brown has warmly praised one of the unsung heroes of the Cape Flats – 19-year-old Langa resident Anele Gqasana.

“You’re an inspiration to young people everywhere,” the Premier told the young man, who has spent the whole of his young-adult life encouraging fellow orphans to confront the challenges of poverty and unemployment that gnaw at the lives of so many township residents.

“Your story must be told to a wider audience,” Brown said. “It is important for youth throughout our province to see living example that poverty need not be a signpost to crime, gangsterism and drugs.

Gqasana himself was thrilled to have met the Premier (at her annual Christmas party for pensioners and orphans).

“Her words of encouragement means a lot to me,” he said. “She has inspired me to work even harder to put something back into the community of Langa.

One of the goals that he has set for himself – to acquire qualifications in the arena of social work – has already started paying dividends.

In September next year, just two years after obtaining his Matriculation Certificate at the local Isilimela High School, he will be jetting off to Sweden to study social work, as one of the participants in a Youth Initiation Programme.

I intend learning as much as I can,” Gqasana said. “And when I return, I would like to work with youth in the 18 to 23 year age group. Many of them obtain their Matric and are then faced with the problems of unemployment,” he explained.

“I think it is important that young people do not lose hope. I hope that I will be able to encourage them to take part in programmes that will prepare them for work when opportunities do occur.”

Gqsana said he had much to be thankful for.

“I’m lucky to be alive today. Eighteen years ago, my mother was carrying me on her back when a car struck her while she was walking along a road in Philippi.

She died and I lived. But I believe that what happened to me, happened for a purpose.

“Later, Ndileka Xameni, a well-known social worker from Langa, took me into her home and raised me like one of her own children.

“In fact, she went far beyond the extra mile for me. She nurtured me, mentored me, and after I obtained my Matric, she encouraged me to follow my dreams.

“But I have just one dream – to work with young people.”


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