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​ROLE MODELS: Motivational speaker Pastor Sthembiso Zondo, Council Speaker James Nxumalo and kwaito artist T’zozo wow pupils on a recent visit to the school Nxumalo attended, Siphesihle High

Samkelo Mtshali

Council Speaker James Nxumalo returned to his old school, Siphesihle High in Inchanga, as part of a recent schools visits campaign. A hugely popular figure in his home town in the Outer West area, Nxumalo was accompanied by motivational speaker Pastor Sthembiso Zondo and local kwaito artist Thokozani Zulu, better known as T’zozo. Nxumalo lectured the 1 000-strong crowd of pupils on the importance of investing wisely in their future by concentrating on their education and respecting their teachers. He urged them to stay away from alcohol and drugs, saying abstinence made you wiser. “I have never touched alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, but I turned out perfectly fine. I am doing well and proud of myself,” Nxumalo said.
 
He said that pupils who did exceptionally well at school would be given every opportunity to further their studies at tertiary institutions. “The government is willing to come out and help young people to better themselves. For this school I am willing to donate computers so children do not struggle with computer illiteracy when they enter tertiary education,” Nxumalo said to enthusiastic applause from pupils.

Inspirational

Zondo, well known for his inspirational radio slot on uKhozi FM’s Vuka Mzansi breakfast show, had the crowd on their feet with his motivational and, sometimes, humorous routine. He said that the vowels, a-e-i-o-u, were the basics of his life as they stood for accountability, excellence, integrity, obedience and unity. “Many people blame tough upbringings for their failures in life, but I never allowed myself to be defeated by impoverishment.
 
Instead I told myself that when other children had the best of everything, I was going to be the best at my education. Today I can stand tall and say it was the wisest investment I ever made,” Zondo said. T’zozo used renditions of some of his most popular tracks to urge young people to abstain from sex, drug abuse and nightlife. His charismatic performance, accompanied by dancers, had the crowd begging for more. Nomthandazo Gwala, a 15- year-old Grade 9 pupil at the school, said she was prepared to heed the advice to invest in her future by concentrating on her studies.
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