By Jonk wa Mashamba
Mpumelelo Buthelezi has stopped sleeping in the streets. He now inspires many young men.
Boys Mentorship South Africa (Bomesa) which Mpumelelo runs, is a program for young boys raised by single mothers, grandparents, those in children’s homes and those who have no male figures in their lives.
Buthelezi quoted an African proverb that says ‘if a young person is not properly brought up, he can burn the whole village down.’
This is what his project does: Develops boys through career guidance and a mentorship program;
} Develops boys by equipping them with life skills;
} facilitates exchange programs
} Link boys to bursaries, learnership and scholarship opportunities;
} Conducts workshops and camps;
} Mobilizes boys and facilitate dialogues;
} Develops boys through edutainment (educate them via what they find entertaining) which clearly involve the use of television programs, computer software applications and/or other media content intended to both entertain and educate the youth;
} Works with other stakeholders to expand the organization, to be able to reach as many youth as possible with limitless access to the great knowledge and inspiration Bomesa has to offer.
Buthelezi is a mentor, an inspirational speaker who shares the teachings of his mentor Tim Omotoso who changed his life from living on the streets.
He dropped out of high school as a result of bad choices and bad decisions.
“I made wrong choices and took wrong decisions that resulted in me living on the streets of Durban.
“The streets opened its jaws to a life of hardship and rough living, leading me to make some rather wrong choices in life yet again. I realise that I could have done something about my situation, maybe seek for help from an NGO, seek counselling or try to put my hands on some decent and honest jobs, but it seemed much easier to hide behind the
fact that my mother was no longer with me.
“As the saying goes, ‘birds of the same feathers flock together’ – the bad habits of my friends influenced and tainted my being as a whole.
“I didn’t know who I was anymore. It took the grace of God and constant counselling by my father in the Lord and mentor, Prophet Tim Omotoso to break the chains and bondage I found myself in.”
Drawing from his personal story, as well as his visits with teens around the country, he talks about the power of decision making.
“It’s been my experience that, if given the facts, today’s young people are fully capable of making good, healthy decisions.”
In June 2012, he embarked on a journey – a journey of redemption. After reflecting on his career choice, he ultimately found his calling.
“The constant disruption amongst the youth due to life’s circumstances affecting their choices to better future, hit me really hard.
“It brought back memories of a mini me in that situation. Since I’ve been through it and found myself again, I decided to help these young people by going out to inspire them through my story.”
Bomesa was founded in 2016 after many boys with drug problems came forward and required his assistance.
“That’s where I started mentorship programs. I have been running the program in different cities in KZN. In 2021, I relocated to Thembisa where I am based now doing the same program
“My target is boys between the ages of 12–18. Reason being that at this age, every child needs proper guidance and mentorship in order for them to grow and make wise decisions regarding their future.
“It is my heart’s desire to see them reach their goals and accomplish things beyond imagination.
“Children are the future and something needs to be done to help them get off the streets.
“We need more entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists and great leaders to reduce the poverty rate that has stricken our community today.
drug addicts and criminals who have inflicted our society, making it a nightmare to live our lives freely.
” As I do this work at no charge, throughout these years, I’ve always had to invest my own income into the projects.
“I deal with, in terms of travelling, food and transportation. I need all the support I can get since I’ve had positive outcome over the years. A handful of students is influenced by my story and the knowledge.”