7 July 2015
After months of begging for a job on the streets of Johannesburg, Joseph Phukubje said his first day at work was more than what he could have asked for.
He reported for work at Locomute on yesterday. Locomute is a car sharing company that is the first of its kind in Africa.
“Yesterday when I arrived I met the management team. They all wanted to know more about me. The team welcomed me and they also understood the situation that I have been through,” Phukubje said this morning.
He enjoyed his first day. “The day was very interesting. Everything went very well,” he said.
Phukubje said he was very excited about all the opportunities he had been exposed to and all that he was learning. After using crystal meth for a very long time, Phukubje has been trying to stay clean since he was promised a job last week.
His new employer has offered to help him get clean. “They are taking me to Sanca [South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence] today so I can get medication,” Phukubje said.
But the eager young man says he will be back at work later to continue with his duties.
After having what others would deem a “normal day”, Phukubje, however, had to return to the dilapidated building on Marlboro Road in Sandton which he shares with other homeless people, most of whom use drugs.
“Yesterday when I knocked off I went back to Marlboro but today I might not go back. I might get a room in Tembisa.” Another Good Samaritan might assist him with rent, he added.
He has not, however, shared news of his first day of work with the people with whom he lives.
“Most of them wouldn’t understand what is happening and I can’t say they have read what was written about me because most of them cannot read,” said Phukubje.
His life all changed when he met a Good Samaritan by the name of Pamela Green as he stood at a street corner in Sandton with his CV and matric certificate in hand, begging for a job.
“After I drove away from the [traffic light] that he was standing at, I actually kept my eyes on the rear view mirror. There was just something about him,” Green said last week.
“A few negative events in my life [that] week had brought me to that robot and I was trying to figure out why all these events had taken place, and when I saw Joseph I kind of knew that that’s why I needed to be at the robot at the time and go and speak to him.”
Watch Phukubje thank people for their help:
A second chance at life
She turned around and went to speak to Phukubje. He told her how he had left his grandmother, mother, sister, and older brother to come to Johannesburg in search of a job after completing matric. His father was hardly ever present in his life.
Things did not work out as planned and Joseph ended up living on the street.
Green shared his story on her Facebook page and asked her friends to help get him a job. Within hours, the post had gone viral and job offers began pouring in. Days later, Phukubje landed a job.
He said Green had given him a second chance at life. “There’s been a lot of changes since I met her. She has shown me a different point of life, a meaning to life and what I can live for. Actually I had given up on life, but she made me see it’s still too early and I am still young. I can have a second chance.”
Meanwhile, the bright, well-spoken 22-year-old plans to study sales and marketing next year. Another Good Samaritan has offered to pay his tuition.