At 23, Langelihle Sibanda– whose first name means “a good day” – has lived up to her name and brought many good days to the lives of orphaned and underprivileged people in her community. But life hasn’t always been rosy for her. Her life changed drastically when her parents separated.
“Life became so tough for us that l couldn’t even go to Form 1 [Grade 8] because my mom was pregnant. She could not work,” Langelihle told The Weight She Carries. “My father became an absent father from [that point] and at the age of 13, l had to adapt to the situation and do something instead of being bitter and angry, or waiting for him to do something.”
Langelihle decided to sell samosas, airtime and snacks to help raise money for food and school.
“One mistake most of us [make] is we think someone else is responsible for our future. Of course, our parents are responsible, but in situations where you need to step up, you have to step up and tell yourself that you can make it,” she said.
Fortunately, a year after her father left, Langelihle’s mother got a job at a security company and was able to afford to send her daughter to school.
“I went straight to Form 2 without doing Form 1 because I believed that despite the fact that l didn’t do Form 1, l would not go backwards but forward,” she said.
While she was able to enroll for school, Langelihle struggled to stay in school.
“My O’level journey was not an easy one. I was in and out of school because of failure to pay fees, and l had to manage selling snacks here and there to raise money and concentration on schoolwork,” she said. “But I thank God for my mother and everyone who lent a helping hand.”
Langelihle is currently working towards a degree in BA Studies at Midlands State University and Trust Academy.
“I believe being born poor is not your fault, but dying poor is.”– Langelihle Sibanda
“My success story is a result of determination, hard work and the support from people like the Changadeya family, who took me in when I had nowhere to stay, and Mr. Karombo who has been my mentor and pillar of strength,” she said. “I can assure you it took a whole lot of strength and faith for me to be where l am – not from funding, not from waiting for a better world or a savior – but from having a clear vision of who I wanted to be.”
“My background inspired my drive and passion to give back to the community and l can testify that the Lord has been faithful to me. Give and it shall be given back to you, shaken together and running over. My life is a testimony of the Lord’s grace and mercy, not my intelligence or hard work. God is putting me in the right places at the right time with the right people.”– Langelihle Sibanda
Langelihle is currently involved in humanitarian work to help underprivileged children. She is the founder of Reaching Out Charity Organisation whose aim is to help restore education to less privileged children in Zimbabwe.
“The hardest challenges l have faced in humanitarian work is [the lack of] funding,” she said. “Of course, there is so much you can do for the less privileged children that doesn’t require much money, but funds are needed to help achieve long-term goals and provide transport allowance for the volunteers because most of them are not employed.”
To the less privileged young girls, Langelihle says, “Step up, girl child. Clearly define who you are and where you wish to be in future. Only then do you have greater chances of success. [Don’t] sit at home and complain about how other children are being supported.”
She also encourages young people to volunteer and make a difference in someone else’s life. Not only is this rewarding, it will allow you to meet people who can connect you to your destiny, she said.
“I told myself that I don’t need to be great to start, but I need to start somewhere for me to be great, and my start was in selling snacks and samosas. My start was in believing that despite what the world thinks of me, I’m capable and I will definitely make it.”– Langelihle Sibanda
Langelihle is also the founder of Lee’s Hair and Beauty Boutique, a company that aims to improve quality of life through physical and mental rejuvenation.
“We offer body and facial treatments, fitness and healthy lifestyle advice,” she said.
Lee’s hair beauty boutique was set to officially launch in October 2019.
In addition, Langelihle is a Safari Guide with the passion for making sure that tourist have the best time possible when they visit Zimbabwe.
Langelihle said that one of her keys to success is humility and always remembering that God is the reason for her success.
“When great things happen in our lives, we tend to forget that at some point, we were nothing and God put us where we are today,” she said. “We end up being so proud of our achievements and forget to give the glory to the Almighty. I truly thank God for his faithfulness, and I hope the person reading this is inspired to thank God for the little and great things He has done for you.”