From heartache to hairdressing for Joburg man

18 April 2018 - 07:00 By Penwell Dlamini
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Luxolo Ngwalangwala
Luxolo Ngwalangwala
Image: Supplied

Luxolo Ngwalangwala realised one of his long life dreams on Tuesday when he graduated with a certificate in hairdressing.

The NQF Level 2 certificate confirmed him as a competent hairdresser who can work in any salon on in the country. The training took a year – six months theory and six months of practical experience. It also involved make-up skills.

While Ngwalangwala celebrated this with joy at the Apollo Hotel in Randburg‚ Johannesburg‚ on Tuesday‚ it is a far cry from the heartache and tragedy he had faced just a few years earlier.

Ngwalangwala‚ 25‚ of Mohlakeng in Randfontein‚ did not even get a chance to finish Matric due to the troubles he faced at the time.

In 2013‚ when he was just 19 and doing Grade 11‚ he faced the most difficult time of his life. He was living with his grandmother and grandfather in a shack. His grandmother died on December 31 of that year.

At that time‚ Ngwalangwala had already decided that he would repeat Grade 11 because he was not happy with his results. But things immediately changed.

“I was forced to organise a funeral‚ something I had never done. Today I still thank God for the people who helped me at that time. My grandmother had given up everything to see me succeed in life. Her funeral was my expression of gratitude for all she had done for me‚” he said.

Ngwalangwala’s mother had died in 2004.

“I had to stop school and go and look for employment to take care of myself and my grandfather. This was not optional for me. We had to pay rent and have food‚” Ngwalangwala said.

But things got worse for him. A few months after the funeral‚ Ngwalangwala’s only surviving family member‚ his grandfather‚ left and returned to his own family.

“Now I was young and left alone to face the world.”

Ngwalangwala’s first job was as a cashier‚ a job he held for about a year.

“It was like being thrown into a new world which I did not know. I had to learn everything fast.”

His employment ended in April 2015 and later that year he trained as a security guard for about three weeks but his certificate “did not come through”.

He then had to get further training to obtain a certificate the same year. But in 2016‚ he spent the year receiving training in hair dressing and beauty.

Ngwalangwala secured a job a security guard only in June last year - a job he still does today. But he still wants to pursue his passion full-time.

“What I know is that when you are able to work with hair you will never sleep without food because each and every girl wants to be beautiful. The skill is a great opportunity for us as youth. My dream is to one day own my own salon and do what I love‚” he said.

Ngwalangwala is one of the 316 youth who graduated on Tuesday. The youth‚ mostly females‚ are beneficiaries of the Gauteng department of social development programme called Welfare to Work‚ which began in 2014. They graduated through funding from the Services SETA‚ getting skills in hair and beauty‚ hospitality‚ real estate and photography.

A total of 224 benefited from the beauty industry‚ 49 in culinary art school‚ six in real estate and 37 in photography.

The entire group is made up of social grant recipients‚ child headed households‚ victims of gender based violence and those exiting substance abuse treatment centres.

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