By Magnificent Mndebele
In a remote village called Thokozani, where the majority are uneducated, a businessman by the name of Julayi Piet Nkosi, a founder of a company called Lekelela Bricks which bakes bricks has an extraordinary dream.
Recently in December 2016, the Lekelela Bricks founder, Nkosi, with a chubby belly said in a vivid tone that he had budgeted about R100,000.00 to buy what he calls ‘Christmas’ for the elderly class of Thokozani village. However, from his budget, something came along which triggered him to shift his plans.
The South African Social Security Agency and the Department of Social Development requested Nkosi to build a house for one of the elderly women in Thokozani, who now lives with five orphans.
“In 2016, I had budgeted R100,000.00, but some governmental entities tasked me to build a house for five orphans who live with their grandmother,” Nkosi explained in a calm tone what altered his plans, which he calls a “good bad luck.”
He further expanded sincerely saying, “even those who are orphans deserve to be happy, those people should also have a secured future. Those who afford should not look down at those who cannot afford.”
The nine-room house that Nkosi built is separated into two-parts; four rooms for three boys and five rooms for two girls, including the grandmother of the orphans. He said although the house is not yet completed, with a few touch-ups needed is has already costed him R168,000.00.
Remarkably he had built it in less than a month. In a happy tone, he said that the way his plans had been changed still pleases him, as the end repercussions of his deeds are righteous.
Thokozani village is a place enclaved by tall forests and mountains and is home to a majority who are either unemployed or are exploited workers and earn a meagre wage.
Nkosi is against human exploitation, he has created stable jobs for some of his employees. Now he seeks to ensure that his employees become registered “so that when they quit or retire, [they] will have their benefits and will be able to continue with life even after work,” he said.
As much as things are moving smoothly for Nkosi, there is one thing that slightly interrupts his business from thriving to what he envisioned.
“The challenges that I have in this job, my place is not enough. I need a bigger space so that I can also hire about 20 people so that we could continue to work collectively. I am not only doing this job for me, I am also trying to reduce unnecessarily thieves because when a person is earning and working, [they] hardly think of engaging in criminal deeds,” Nkosi said worryingly.
A local councillor who declared Nkosi as a hard worker, Dudu Ngobese said she “appreciates” the work that Nkosi does for the community. Ngobese added, “Nkosi is an individual who is very committed to helping the community of Thokozani.”
The key people Nkosi seemingly cares about, are the elderly and those who are penury. In 2017, before December, Nkosi wished to do something special for them that would raise eyebrows. He wants to be an exemplary business man so that other business men like himself can also give back to the community.
“My dream for 2017, is to give a precious gift [to] the elderly people who are of the age of my parents. Some people in Thokozani are extremely poor, and it is my wish to ensure that I build them houses so that they could live in decency,” Nkosi articulated.
“One day I saw an elder whose house built of mud was falling because of dilapidation and it pained me,” he reminisced an ugly scenario he accidentally saw while passing by, and it is still vivid that it prompts him to desire to aid the elderly.
Before Nkosi came to relocate in Thokozani, it used to be a village with households that were predominantly built of mud, but now the relationship has shifted dramatically. Now houses built of bricks which he bakes are enormously increasing.
Nkosi has a rare dream, which is to see Thokozani village becoming a suburb-like, however, this dream will take many years to gear up. “I wish that Thokozani could develop extremely, around 2020, I want Thokozani to look like a new village. I want the overview of Thokozani to surprise people when looking at it,” he said.
‘Basheshe bahleka kanti iNkosi ingizwile,’ these lyrics are sung by Donny Ngwenyama, and when translated say, ‘they mocked me early yet they did not know that the Living Lord has heard my plea’, and continues to say there is a lot of great things that await ahead.
“I don’t want to be [a] man simply because I have a beard. I want to be a real man with dignity, I want my community to realize that they have a real man in me. They laughed at me early while they didn’t notice that there is something great coming,” Nkosi optimistically said.