Chasing a dream: Homeless man on a mission to complete his master's degree

With an honours degree in gender studies, Gibson Nzimande pulls his trolley with an oversized white bag filled with recyclables through the oncoming Sandton traffic, up a steep hill. This is his story.

Every day homeless graduate Msawenkosi Gibson Nzimande recycles what he can find on the streets of Sandton to survive and dream of pursuing his dreams. Photo: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom’s ongoing rolling power cuts have put further strain on the already battered economy and continue to push the unemployed into a dark hole.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the government was making a concerted effort to rebuild the economy following the pandemic and energy crisis, many South Africans are not looking to the government for answers to the record unemployment rate.

According to the latest Stats SA data for the fourth quarter of 2021, the youth unemployment rate is at a staggering 65.5%.

Homeless honours graduate Msawenkosi Gibson Nzimande is a trying to make a living in Sandton to complete his dream of being a lecturer. Photo: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

Now, here's a story of hope: a Joburg homeless man sat down with Eyewitness News to tell his story.

"I want to get a good job – and then I want to finish my master's. I’ve had that dream of becoming a lecturer."

Gibson Nzimande pulls his trolley with an oversized white bag filled with recyclables through the oncoming Sandton traffic, up a steep hill.

He’s also going against the stream in life, sleeping in the bushes, recycling at night while he is also trying his best to finish his master's degree in history.

The 34-year-old carries his certificates in a plastic bag – an honours degree in gender studies from Unisa, and his master's degree from the University of Johannesburg, which has been placed on hold.

Msawenkosi Gibson Nzimande's honours degree. Photo: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

In 2019, Nzimande lost his house when his mother died and financially, he could no longer afford his studies.

"I’m trying to apply for a job each and every day on the internet. The only thing I buy is food; I get R50, R70 a day," he said.

WATCH: 'I‘ll never give up in life’: Homeless graduate determined to get his master’s degree

Nzimande keeps a diary with him where he writes about his dreams, prayers and goals.

"I used to see people living in the street, I used to judge them, thinking they are in the situation because of drugs, but it's very tough living on the street," he explained.

34-year-old homeless honours graduate Msawenkosi Gibson Nzimande. Photo: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

He loves reading and tries to use his meager daily wages to visit an internet café to do more research to finish his studies so that his dream of becoming a lecturer can come true sooner rather than later.

But with no funds, that dream may never be realised.

Help Gibson Nzimande get back on his feet and realise his dream here.