UFH student proves there is light at the end of the tunnel

Things are starting to look up for final year BCom student and entrepreneur, Mbuso Khoza. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Mbuso Khoza (29) is a University of Fort Hare final-year BCom student who is currently licking his wounds after videos of him being physically assaulted by university security guards went viral on social media. In these videos, a young man gets assaulted while his vendor stand is destroyed, and his food is scattered. He sells chips and Russians to fund his studies and provide for himself and his family in KwaZulu-Natal.

Khoza says that he used to sell on campus when he initially started his business in 2020 as a first-year student. Despite Covid-19’s interference in his business, he was able to resume it, this time by selling in his room in the student residence. He says that the security guards noticed students lined up outside his room to purchase his food, and he was soon prohibited from doing business.

“I was informed that selling is prohibited. They would seize my stock, and since I relied on my business to make ends meet, I would take a break before restarting my business. I was able to send money home and pay for things.

“Last year was difficult because I realized they did not want me to run it inside the campus, and at that time, my business had attracted a lot of new customers. Also, I was able to expand the menu to include burgers. I noticed that things were getting aggressive with the security guards, so I chose to move off campus this year,” he explained.

Khoza says he relocated his business beyond the boundaries of the university and obtained electricity from homes next to the school to run it, but the security guards forcibly ejected him, claiming the homes belonged to the school. He built his own shelter beside the road and set up his stall to continue his business while the security guards continued to harass him.

“The security guards informed me that the university owns the land where I am conducting my business, including the road. Once more, I was given the order to move, but they did not provide me with any options, so I questioned where I should go. They insisted that it was the management’s directives that I stop selling,” he stated.

He said that on Saturday, February 18, security guards came to his vendor stand with bottles of water and damaged it by pouring it over his food. Khoza returned to Margate, KwaZulu-Natal, where he took a sabbatical after feeling defeated.

As he was taking a sabbatical, his videos began to gain popularity, and the University of Fort Hare students even organized a protest to demand his return because he was unable to register owing to the money he owed the university.

When more people became aware of his videos and his story, they began making donations to him. He was able to register for his final year by using the money that generous strangers gave him to help him restart his business and pay off the debt he owes the university.

He received assistance from the Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality in getting a plot of land where he set up his tent and is conducting his business in front of the Kwantu Mall in Alice. He is currently assisted by three people. The videos have assisted him in getting help, although he acknowledges that seeing them is difficult.

Mbuso Khoza’s business outside the Kwantu Mall in Alice. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Mbuso conducting business with the help of his assistants outside the Kwantu Mall in Alice. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

“I felt horrible; it was not nice, and I could not watch them because I was crying. My self-esteem was affected,” he acknowledges.

He says he still does not have a place to live and that he currently stays with friends. In the student residence, he has trouble securing a room.

“The university has not communicated with me. I even have plans to rent a place outside the campus because the security guards are still fighting me,” he revealed. He says he did file an assault charge against the five security guards who assaulted him.

He is appreciative of everyone who has supported him so far. He says that poor weather has an impact on business because his tent is not secure. Anyone who wishes to donate to Mbuso Khoza may do so by making a deposit to his Capitec account, which is 1547818636.