This is an unusual story of how art was a life- line to this young artist and a way out of destitution.
Donald Songore was born on the 29 January 1993 in Zimbabwe, he was raised by his father and mother, when he was 14 years old his father passed on, and the family of 3 were left destitute . After his dad died his mother became the bread winner but life was very tough because his mother was unable to earn enough to educate and support 3 children. It was a very difficult time for the family and most of the time the family used to go to sleep hungry.
At age 15 Donald decided to look for a job. He started doing gardening work, and worked the whole day for R5, which only allowed the family to buy 1 bundle of vegetable for 1 nights meal. Most of the time he had to miss school because his mother could not afford school fees. At 16 he decided to cross the border to look for a job in South Africa, he had seen neighbours making a success in South Africa.
Without him knowing anyone or anything this young man /boy arrived in limpopo province without a single cent, he slept in the streets for 4months until he was taken to an orphanage and they started supporting him with food and shelter. He then started pushing trolleys at a mall, with this he was able to send a little bit of money to his family in Zimbabwe. He was then offered a job at a farm in KZN looking after cattle and taking care of his sugar cane field for a farm but after 7 months the farmer refused to pay him and he decided to leave and ended up walking around 150km day and night with no shoes until he reached Durban town.
He had to sleep in the street again for 5months, while looking for a job, his life was at a very low point. He eventually managed to find a job supplying paper. With that job he was able to raise money to stay in a shelter and he worked for 2 years at that company living hand to mouth, he managed to save R10 which he would send home .
He used to see some kids making projects at a school at the South coast where he delivered paper, one day he saw a child struggling to make an animal for a school project and he helped him, he started to make animals at night and didn’t sleep trying to make the different animals. The teachers from the school started to give him some small orders to make for their homes. He then started to develop his craft and has become a well-known Hillcrest Artist, selling his work at the Shongweni farmers market on a Saturday and he says “I believe art has raised my whole family including my mother”
This is an incredible story of triumph over the most difficult of situations.
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