- Kenneth Kenny Ndwalane Hlongwa, thanked an "oom" who changed his life
- Hlongwa revealed he was homeless and disadvantaged when he met Philip Niemann
- Niemann gave him a room in his house and helped him through medical school
Kenneth Kenny Ndwalane Hlongwa is no stranger to struggling. The occupational therapist was "very disadvantaged", to the point where he was left homeless.
"I ended up in the streets, sleeping under the bridge and eating from the rubbish bins," he said.
However, Hlongwa was saved by a kind man, Philip Niemann, who changed his life completely. Detailing the story on #ImStaying's Facebook page, Hlongwa revealed Niemann took him off the streets.
Hlongwa said Niemann, who he called "my oom", gave him a room in his two-bedroom house and they shared everything.
Niemann did not ask for money nor did he let Hlongwa work in the garden, he even introduced him to his loved ones.
"We visited his friends and family and not once that I was made to feel that I was of different colour, I was treated as human," he added.
Briefly.co.za learned that Niemann helped Hlongwa finish high school by completing Grade 11 and 12.
In 2004, Niemann sent Hlongwa to the Medical University of Southern Africa (Medunsa), where he obtained a degree in occupational therapy.
"I remember how he used to come fetch my laundry every Friday at university, go do it and bring it on Sunday. God I love this man," Hlongwa wrote.
Hlongwa started his career in Mzansi but has since moved to Saudi Arabia, working in the United Arab Emirates.
Hlongwa wanted to repay Niemann for everything he had done for him, but the father figure refuses to take his money.
The grateful man said Niemann would reject the cash, saying:
“My boy I know you have a lot to deal with that needs money, I will be fine.
"This man showed me a real meaning of love. I just wish I had a way to show him how much I appreciate what he has done for me and my family," Hlongwa wrote in the lengthy post.
Hlongwa added by calling on South Africans to see the positive and then work on the negative.
"This beautiful country is filled with beautiful people. I think it’s time we focus more on the positive, not ignoring the negative but try fix them. We need to stop painting everybody with the same brush, it’s not fair."
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!