East Londoners have come to the rescue of an 18-year-old Byletts High School pupil in need of a suit for his matric dance next week.
It’s all thanks to Michelle de Vries who shared Yamkela Pinana’s story on the East London Girls’ Facebook page with the hope of getting help a week ago.
Pinana’s single mother died when she was only 21, and the young man and his 15-year-old brother are growing up under the care of their aunt.
East Londoners did not disappoint, as they responded positively and offered over and above what Pinana and De Vries expected.
Among the offers was that of Premier Limo East London which offered to drive the young man and his date to their dance.
Another offered him a photo shoot, while a third pledged to buy a dress for Pinana’s date.
Speaking with the Daily Dispatch yesterday, De Vries said she was overwhelmed by the response she received on behalf of Pinana.
“I’ve known this young man for a long time. He is a hard worker and when he said he really wanted to go to his matric dance, there was no way I wasn’t going to assist him.
“I asked someone what must I do and they suggested I post on the Facebook page. I was shocked by the response, I can’t believe this is really happening,” De Vries said.
Pinana said when he wrote the letter to De Vries, he knew she would do whatever she could to make his dream come true.
“My prayer was that I would be able to attend the dance and have a good time like other kids my age,” he said.
He said he could not believe it when De Vries showed him the responses from the public on the Facebook post.
“I am grateful to aunty Michelle and all the people who responded to the message. They have all made me happy and I look forward to the big day,” he said.
He said he would be meeting his partner today to find out if she has a dress or not.
“We have not discussed those things but if she doesn’t have a dress, the people have also offered to get her a dress. I am sure she will be excited to hear the news as well,” he said.
After matric, Pinana said he had plans of going to the University of Fort Hare to study business management or marketing.
“I did well in March and I will be applying at the University of Fort Hare soon. I enjoy business studies and I hope I could take it further,” he said.
His aunt Nolakhe Pinana said she was happy to hear that her nephew would be going to the matric dance.
“I told him not to go to this dance because he knows we are struggling here. His mother died at the age of 21 leaving behind four children.
“His older siblings quit school because of our situation. He [Yamkela] refused to quit school, it is by God’s grace that he is doing matric.
“Even the younger one is determined to follow in his footsteps,” she said, adding the family lived on R1200 every month.
“I’ve tried to apply for a foster care grant for them but the social worker who was dealing with our case, disappeared.
“I don’t know how I will pay for him at university next year or for his younger brother who will be starting high school next year.”
The matric dance is next Thursday. — firstname.lastname@example.org