Western Cape Premier Helen Zille attended a rather special book launch on Friday. The launch took place at Cape Town-based NPO Salesian Life Choices, Zille was the guest of honour.
After the former DA leader had given her speech at the event, she was presented with a precious gift from Pogiso Motubatsi, a mine worker and freelance artist. Zille was quickly moved to tears after discovering that the gift was an incredible pencil sketch of herself.
Things got even more emotional once Motubatsi revealed that he used all his free time between shifts at the mine to complete the piece of art. The miner known artistically as PJay, is self-taught and currently works at the Impala Platinum Mine in Rustenburg. He says that meeting “mom Helen” has always been a dream of his.
Pjay is one of 20 artists that illustrated for the Cape Town Youth Book that was being launched at the event. When asked about the evening itself, Zille described her gift as “perfect” and expressed her joy at all the inspiration she had seen.
“Sometimes one feels a bit down about the future, but everybody who feels down just needs to come to an evening like this. The important thing about these stories is that it shows even in the most difficult circumstances, people have opportunities to make choices.”
The Premier also had strong praise for young South Africans.
“I’m so inspired by young people who’ve learnt at a very tender age what it’s taken me decades to learn. Their stories show a dedication to the truth; they show young people have a capacity to take responsibility, to defer gratification and to develop judgement and wisdom way beyond their years. Above all, they have the capacity to make the right choices because they recognise opportunities. The Life Choices programmes are precisely the right catalyst young people need as a launch pad in life.”
Incredible people with incredible stories, that’s what makes all of us get emotional. If you ever have a chance to buy some PJay artwork, please, make sure you do.