A little humour goes a long way – just ask Lusindiso Malgas whose witty one-liner placards have brought him a step closer to becoming a homeowner.
Mr Malgas has made international headlines for “selling smiles” while at the same time supporting his three children with his placards.
He can be found at different traffic lights in Table View entertaining motorists with his placards in exchange for spare change.
Like many others, Mr Malgas, 27, fell on hard times during lockdown after losing his job as a warehouse packer.
Unable to provide for his children, he sent them home to the Eastern Cape to live with his mother.
Unemployed with no formal education, Mr Malgas, who “knows how to make people laugh”, decided to use his humour to his advantage.
“Growing up, I always used to make people laugh by writing funny things on the board in class. I was always reading cartoon strips and watching stand-up comedy. When I lost my job, I knew I wasn’t getting another during lockdown. I decided to go to the street.”
Mr Malgas spoke to Tabletalk at the traffic lights close to Dolphin Beach Hotel on Friday October 16.
His placard, “Will torture your boss for R20”, grabs the attention of motorists and passengers, some smile, others do a double take.
While he speaks, a car hoots for his attention. He returns with R300. His benefactors are from America and read his story online. They often give him money when they pass by, he says.
A few months back, his placards, with lines like “Let’s do lunch by you”, “Why a lie, I need cash for cold beer” and “Need petrol for my Porsche” caught the attention of Big Bay resident Brendan Cottle who was curious to find out more about the man with the “cheerful personality”.
One day he decided to stop at the side of the road to speak with Mr Malgas.
“I believe positivity breeds positivity. Seeing Lusindiso’s smile brightened up my morning commute, and I know the same can be said for many others. I am a very optimistic and positive person, and when I saw Lusindiso’s smile and happiness to do what he was doing, it made me think about his and the situation of others, especially during the country lockdown.”
After hearing Mr Malgas’s story, Mr Cottle decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to buy Mr Malgas a house in Dunoon.
The campaign went live on July 22 and to date has raised over R70 000. The target is R250 000.
“I hope with this campaign, Lusindiso’s story can reach more people and that his positivity can circle the globe,” says Mr Cottle.
Mr Malgas’s story has been covered by BBC News Africa and German newspapers, among others.
Mr Malgas says he wants nothing more than to have his children with him and will send for them as soon as he has his house.
“I want my kids with me all the time. I miss them so much.”
Mr Malgas also has dreams of starting a T-shirt and cap business with his witty one-liners.
Mr Cottle says any surplus funds from the crowdfunding campaign would support the T-shirt business.
“I would like to thank Capetonians, as well as people across the country and overseas who have helped me and understood my situation. God is great,” says Mr Malgas.
To make a donation towards Mr Malgas’s house, go to https://www.backabuddy.co.za/lusindiso-malgas . You can also follow Mr Malgas on Instagram @sighn_diso