A littlle over eighteen months ago, Xolani Luvuno was a homeless drug addict. Today he has the Comrades Marathon in his sights.
Xolani Luvuno's leg was amputated above the knee several years ago due to bone cancer. After that he became addicted to Nyaope, and soon found himself living on the streets of Pretoria.
He begged on his crutches at a traffic light and spent most of the money he made on drugs. At night, he slept under a bridge close to his begging spot.
Hein Venter, a previous board member of the Paul Steyn Foundation and a successful Pretoria businessman, was one of the motorist who drove by Xolani every day until he decided, one day, to stop and speak to Xolani. A few days later, he took him to his house where he gave him a meal, someting to drink and new clothes. He urged Xolani to tell him his life story.
He was so touched by Xolani's story that he decided to take him off the streets. He offered to give him a new leg and a job, if Xolani would promise to quit drugs. Later that day he had acoomodation organized and a few weeks later, Xolani received his new prosthetic leg.
After two weeks of going cold turkey, Xolani was weaned off Nyaope, but being an addict, compensated with alcohol. When Hein found out, he took Xolani's leg back and fired him from his job. Hein's tough stance was a eye opener for Xolani, who promised to turn over a new leaf. Hein gave him another chance and neither of them looked back since then.
Hein is an avid runner, and encouraged his staff to join him by founding a running club at his business. Xolani decided to join and before long completedhis first marathon, the annual Wally Hayward Marathon, on his prosthetic leg. Hein, not a man to seek the limelight, had no choice but to agree to tell him and Xolani's story when they were spotted during the marathon and a tweet about Xolani went viral.
Since then, össur South Africa agreed to sponsor a running blade for Xolani and he has since completed several marathons and has the Comrades Marathon on his sights.
Xolani's inspirational story is an example of the difference a prosthetic leg can make in the life of an amputee.