Once a radio personality at TUT community radio John Molepo affectionately known as John English a name he says that he got because of his love for the Queen’s language. He is now making headlines for adorning his PhD graduate regalia and standing at the busiest intersection in Soshanguve with a placard that reads “kindly donate R5.00 and assist a child to go to college or university”.
It is his selfless act that has caught the attention of many in his community and the Presidency. John’s interest in community development started during his days on radio when he engaged with the community at large. It sparked the fire in him to be more than just a voice in his community. The 29 year old who is said to be the youngest PhD graduate at Tshwane University of Technology says he realises that he has the opportunity to influence youngsters in Soshanguve to aspire to be great.
“With my qualification I have realised that I am better equipped to help those in need. Standing at the intersection around my community in graduate regalia has spread the #ITooCan message amongst my peers and community at large. I have become a beacon of hope to many who thought their dreams were not valid because of their background. Although my qualification gives people the impression that I have money, which is not necessarily the case, I am however glad that they at least have something to aspire to”- said John.
When John isn’t standing at the intersection requesting donations, he is a lecturer at University of North West in Potchefstroom. “I enjoy lecturing and being part of shaping ideas and facilitating knowledge and information with the young minds. As much as I teach, I also learn quiet a lot from the students” he says. John battled with depression, an illness that has taken the lives of many youngsters.
He says it is through the help of a friend who encouraged him to seek help and support from his family that aided him through this difficult time. John is a firm believer that everyone deserves an opportunity of accessing higher learning quality education. Exclusion to education and information because of their financial status has robbed off many the opportunity to achieve their goals. He started Thusangwanageno an initiative aimed at giving underprivileged students a chance to obtain a high institution qualification.
He also acknowledges the donations he received from companies, patrons, and motorists but he says it is the taxi drivers that made it possible to take 200 students to school since its inception. “I would like to take the credit but the real heroes of the Thusangwanageno initiative are the taxi drivers who always spare a R5.00 to the course”, says John.
He also relays that he would like to see Soshanguve a transformed community with progressive young minds that provide solutions to social ills in their community. To learn more on how you can be a beneficiary of Thusangwanageno initiative kindly visit www.empowermentSA.co.za, if you would like to be a donor to the initiative, you are encouraged to adopt a student. John says that he and his team will continue to stand at the intersection asking for donations.
BY: MEGAN SELLO