Sunday World

Nhlanhla proves not all heroes wear spandex

Young leader and community members came to the rescue of the Maponya Mall, writes Kuli Roberts

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Some heroes don’t wear spandex. This was evident when Nhlanhla Lux Dlamini led other heroes to defend Maponya Mall in Soweto from being destroyed during last week’s deadly looting and vandalism sprees.

With the help from community members, the mall was patrolled and was able to reopen without job losses a week later. Since the dust has settled, we decided to find out a bit more about this young man who doesn’t watch TV but saves jobs and the lives of complete strangers.

So what was happening last week because I was watching TV, then you appeared interrogat­ing a looter?

I sent a call-out to Sowetans to join me in defending what’s left of the township economy after all malls were devastatin­gly looted.

Why was it so important to be involved when we have the police?

I am a highly dedicated and determined person with a simple mission to leave Soweto in a better state than how I found it.

Do you consider yourself a hero and are people treating you differentl­y?

I continue seeing my actions as normal but people beg to differ, they say I’m their hero, which I genuinely struggle to comprehend.

What do you do on a normal day when you are not saving malls from vandalism?

I am the president of Soweto Parliament. It is a non-political people’s movement led by the people of Soweto for the people of Soweto . It is the only platform where young people can exercise community leadership outside politics. We are the home of independen­t thinking that produces world-class community leadership.

Since you clearly love malls, what’s your favourite dish?

Dumpling, served with oxtail.

A dashing young man like yourself must love fragrance, what’s your favourite?

Ombre 33.

When not saving jobs, what do you do to unwind?

I play golf at the Soweto Country Club because they are very profession­al, have a great course and I always feel safe there. I also reading a book and very old people that know.

Who are your favourite rapProkid and HHP,

but since they are gone, I will have to settle with a young rapper from Meadowland­s known as EMO, he is crazy with the freestyle.

You seem to live a very serious life, do you ever have any childish fun? Can you holla-hoop?

I can certainly holla-hoop. I’m a well-rounded man from Soweto.

What do you wish for South Africa?

Old people must stop hogging positions of power and give space to young leadership that can and will guide us into a better future. There is no reason why our communitie­s and wards must be led by 80-year-old councillor­s.

What do you wish for the youth?

South African youth must build non-political structures that allow young people to express their leadership. Leadership structures such as the Soweto Parliament. We all have favourite rooms, what’s yours in your house?

The bunker under the swimming pool. I love it there because there’s no cellular network reach, which means there’s very little outside influence when you’re down there. It’s really “you time”.

I thought you were a pilot, are you not?

Being a pilot was always my career dream, but my true passion has always been leadership and the emancipati­on of the black mind.

With all this violence, how do you suggest one finds peace?

Find time to always sit alone and seek the internal whispering voices from your ancestors. This requires you to really block off the noise and focus deep in the centre of your heart.

Do you have a message for South Africans?

I am serious when I say I am prepared to die in defence of the township economy, the women and children of Soweto. People must stop trying to save the world, the trick is to make a daily or weekly positive impact in the community you live in.

If we all do right by our people and communitie­s, the puzzles will come together and the country, even the world, will be a better place.

People must find ways of uniting and coexisting outside their political, economic and organisati­onal boundaries. Unity will take this country forward.

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 ?? /Gallo Images ?? Community leader Nhlanhla Lux Dlamini and his team last week protected Maponya Mall in Soweto from being looted.
/Gallo Images Community leader Nhlanhla Lux Dlamini and his team last week protected Maponya Mall in Soweto from being looted.

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