Mbabane; From an age of eight, Andile Langwenya suffered abuse at the hands of his biological father. As a result, Andile flee from home to fend for himself on the streets. But now, he holds an Associate Degree in TV & Film Production from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.
It is not a fairy-tale but a life story of a humble young man who defied all odds and pursued his dream of being a TV and film producer. As he details his childhood life, Andile tells me that he believes it will certainly inspire underprivileged children.
He continues to say: “Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done and everything seems impossible up until it’s done.”
To him, it was because of this resolute belief that nothing is impossible to a person with utmost purpose that he found himself among the hundreds of students who were honoured at LUCT’s Virtual Graduation ceremony held on Friday, April 27, 2021.
He wants to tell us about his immediate success in the world of academia. Well, he will do so but not before he details how his short stint as a street kid contributed to what he is today-a proud graduate from LUCT.
He said in 2002, he decided to become a street kid due to abuse he suffered at the hands of his own biological father and his stay-in lover.”
He says it was only after three days roaming the ever busy streets of Manzini when he was advised his fellow friends that there were white people staying at Trelawney Park. Andile says he took heed to the friend’s advice and they went to the house of the white men at Trelawney Park. Arriving at the house, Andile says he was warmly welcomed by one man who took him in and found him a home at Trelawny Park where he settled very well.
Fast-forward to 2004, Andile says he went to Hilltop, Mbabane to check on his father who was staying with his girlfriend and they were all shocked to learn that he was still alive. Sihlongonyane recalled that there were misunderstandings between his father and in-laws, hence he decided not to stay longer.
Shortly after visit to his father, Andile says things took another twist as his father then showed interest in him and started visiting him at Trelawney Park and begged him to come back home. Towards the end of 2004, Andile discloses that he fell to his father’s trap and went back home. While at home, Andile recalls how his father would hoodwink him and promise to take him for Johannesburg where he was working as a miner.
Andile says he started to see a flicker of hope in 2005, when his father took him back to school and paying his school fees in full at Luhlokohla Primary School.
However, all of sudden, Andile says his he started to be subjected to abuse again at the hands of his father’s girlfriend who once assaulted him with a metal on his head. And as a result, Andile sustained serious injuries on the head which left him with a huge scar.
Having enough of the abuse, Andile says he decided to run away again, stole money and he went back to Trelawney Park where the caregivers accepted him. In 2006 he was enrolled back at the caregivers’ school which was within the premises of the Trelawney Park. He recollects that the school was called the Little Star by then.
When he was about to start Grade 7 class in 2007, Andile says he moved from Trelawney Park to go and stay at Manzini Youth Centre which was under the Roman Catholics Church and attended school at Enjabulweni Primary School.
Andile says during the first two and a half years at high school, the Roman Catholics took him to Salesian High School. However, in mid-2010 when doing Form 3, he was expelled from school for misbehaviour with other pupils. From there, he ran back to his initial caregivers who took him to South Africa where he finished off his Matric in 2011.
In 2012, Sihlongonyane applied at LUCT but he could not enrol because he did not get scholarship. He went on to say he further applied at Eswatini Christian University to study Medical Laboratory Sciences in the same year.
However, in 2013 he had to drop out due to lack of funds as he could not get government scholarship. While out of school, he went to work in South Africa and while working in South Africa he received a WhatsApp message which notified him that he had been awarded the government scholarship but that was rather too late to accept the offer because I had already dropped out.
Fast-forward to 2015, when Andile was attending Easter Service at Manzini Nazarene, there were Sales Representatives from LUCT and the Christian University who had set up stands for promoting their courses they offer. Andile says he took interest at LUCT courses and he was given an application form to fill where he applied for TV and Film Production.
Before he knew it, he was called by the university (LUCT) to collect his acceptance letter. Sadly, when he tried to get the government scholarship, he was unlucky again.
“I felt like giving up, seeing my future fading right under my nose.”
He says despite that he could not get government sponsorship for his studies, Andile did give up, and for the first year, the tuition fees were paid by a certain relative by the name of Thandazile Sihlongonyane. Andile explains that he wrote a letter to Dzelisile Mdluli, a year leader at LUCT detailing that his relative was discontinuing to pay his fees and for that reason, he (Andile) was contemplating to drop out.
Just around those days when he was having thoughts of giving up, there comes the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit and joined a choir which was preparing to perform at the summit.
In preparations for their performance at summit, the choir had to camp at Manzini Nazarene High School. One day when the choir was rehearsing, the then Minister of Public Works and Transport Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini who is now the Senate President was in attendance and he (Sihlongonyane) at some point sat next to her. He could not let that chance go past him; he spoke to Dlamini, telling her he was about to give up with his studies as he was struggling to get scholarship.
Dlamini gave him his cellphone number as she was trying to figure out something for him.
Sihlongonyane’s year leader and Dlamini managed to get him a scholarship from the Imbali Foundation.
“That’s my story and from that particular day I focused on my studies with an undivided attention, hence I graduated and I just got employed by Independent News Eswatini.”