From studying under a streetlamp to 2 degrees & 7 distinctions! This is a story of how we help each other rise!
Photo Cred: Michelle Smith Facebook

His story may have started by studying under a streetlamp, but this young South African is on his way to being one of our top lawyers!


Pretoria, South Africa (12 December 2020) – Michelle Smith recently took to Facebook to share a heartwarming story about how she had helped a young South African through his studies.

In the post, Smith explains how she was driven to help Lotanang Thaba after she saw him studying under a street lamp.

“At the end of 2015, I learned about this sweet, young, shy, but very determined boy that obtained 5 distinctions in matric, while studying under a streetlamp. And I wanted to be part of his success story.”

Thaba dreamed of being a lawyer, but by the time their battle to obtain a bursary was over, the university only had space left in the education department. So it was off to the Dean’s office. Then the issue of having to ensure he had accommodation where he would have access to good food, a computer and a warm bed.

“I asked here on “Eks van die Ooste” and many pitched in with a kettle, bedlamp, bedding, towels, bathroom kit, carpet, second-hand clothes and what-have-yous. So much gratitude.”

Smith remembers 25 years earlier when she was dropped off by both her parents at university with lots of “you’re the best daughter in the world” and “have fun, but don’t skip class” and everything a student could ask for, all shining from “its brand-newness”.

“I will never forget the day Lotanang and I went to buy his residence attire. Only by accident, I noticed he held his pants up with a tethered nylon rope. I had to swallow hard at the lump in my throat and blinked numerous times to hide my tears. Even though the world is full of injustice and unfairness, I could not fathom why a boy so determined, so gentle, so kind, had to struggle so hard to obtain success.”

But Smith says that Thaba never asked for handouts and always showed his gratitude by putting in the effort that produced the marks to prove it.

“Not having an active father figure in his life, and his mother only working part-time as a domestic cleaner, I’ve seen him grow in confidence while he faced many internal, very personal struggles.”

Smith posted the story in the hope that someone would be able to place Lotanang in a law firm for his articles.

“Five years, two degrees and seven distinctions later, I’m asking for help again,” she posted on Facebook. “Do you know of, or have a law firm that would love to be part of his beautiful story of hope and faith?”

And the interest has been overwhelming! Thousands of South Africans have applauded Smith for her act of kindness, and many social media users have offered him placements at their firms.

Such a feel-good story! We will update you when we receive more information.

Sources: Michelle Smith 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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