Joburg Teen Shows The True Spirit of South African Youth and Ubuntu
While others walked on by, a young King Edward VII School (KES) learner – Nathi Nzima in Grade 11E – has been commended for his kindness and care for a stranger who had collapsed on a pavement in Kensington, Johannesburg, South Africa. The man, who had been walking from Kempton Park to Berea, had collapsed from […]
While others walked on by, a young King Edward VII School (KES) learner – Nathi Nzima in Grade 11E – has been commended for his kindness and care for a stranger who had collapsed on a pavement in Kensington, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The man, who had been walking from Kempton Park to Berea, had collapsed from exhaustion and starvation. He was walking home from his nightshift job as a security guard… and he hadn’t eaten for two days. But nobody knew that… and so most people walked past him, too scared or in too much of a rush to stop.
In a letter to the headmaster of KES, David Lovatt, the woman whose driveway the man collapsed in explained how she herself had been too nervous to stop and help last Wednesday afternoon.
She said: “I panicked and (because we live in Joburg) I was frightened as well that it might be an act waiting to attack me, so I drove a few metres ahead while processing the situation.
“People were passing by staring but no one really bothered to approach him to check if he was alright or alive for that matter. A passing taxi driver eventually stopped by to check if he was breathing and he drove off as well.”
The woman finally drove into her driveway but quickly locked the gate behind her. She saw two police vans pull up next to the man’s body… but the “policemen also just checked to see that he was breathing and again they drove off”.
She said: “I was looking out from my porch and being a lady I was still afraid to go attend to the matter on my own… until I saw a young man who was walking by and stopped.”
Nathi turned the man’s “almost lifeless body around, gathered his belongings and started tending to him”. The woman then felt safe enough to go outside and assist.
Nathi spoke to the man who was so weak he could barely talk, helped him drink some water, and stayed with him while they waited for the ambulance… “which never arrived sadly”.
The lady said in her letter to KES: “Your student stayed with him for almost an hour till he regained some strength, could remember his name and where he stays. I eventually got my father to drop him home; Nathi lifted him to the vehicle.
“The kindness and concern that young Nathi displayed (while all the adults were passing by) was really commendable and I believe should be recognised.
“It is only when Nathi stopped that other people (including myself) could approach the situation. I can’t put into words the assistance this young [learner] offered this man…
“In a society where most have little good to say about the modern teen it is so comforting to see that there are still young ones like Nathi.
“I’ve known the school KES produce some really great young men and this is proof that the standard has not been compromised. Thank you for the values you have instilled in your students, I know it must not always be easy but I hope young ones like Nathi inspire and motivate you to keep pushing more great young citizens into our society.
“Please recognise Nathi and great congratulations to you Headmaster and the school.”
The school added its own congratulations to Nathi on social media, saying: “Nathi we are so proud of you and applaud your actions. You have not only upheld the name of our School and your family, but you have shown commendable character traits of empathy, integrity and compassion, that are testament to what a fine young man you are. We salute you!”