- Carlos Nyabanga, 47, lost an arm at the age of 15 while fighting in Mozambique’s civil war
- He worked on the farms for many years but now makes and sells clothes and uniforms for schools and churches
- Today, the married father of four dreams to create jobs for people like him
Carlos Nyabanga, 47, is a former child soldier who lost an arm at the age of 15 while fighting in Mozambique’s civil war who dreams of registering a formal business and creating jobs for unemployed people.
Nyabanga, who lives in a village outside Acornhoek, Mpumalanga, makes and sells clothes and uniforms for schools and churches and repairs sewing machines.
The 47-year-old man who was one of the 25 498 officially demobilized soldiers who were younger than 18 when the 16-year civil war ended in 1992 says: “I lost my parents, my arm and my childhood during the war, but I didn’t give up on life. I told myself that I still had one arm and two legs.”
He came to South Africa in 1993 and six years later, he was given citizenship and used his savings to buy a manual sewing machine and painstakingly taught himself to sew, using his right foot to spin the device.
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Nyabanga said that he worked on the farms for many years, but he was not happy with the earnings because it was insufficient and didn’t had job security so he quit the job to look for a better life. “I am happy with my life. I have a roof over my head and I am able to buy food for my children.”
Today, the married father of four, who works from a rented apartment, uses an electric sewing machine and makes around R10 000 a month.