The plan was to demolish and rebuild it, then sell it and try to get a better place elsewhere. Our income was the greatest challenge at that time, but who said you have to have money in order to dream? We dreamt of a better life and a better house that was somewhere out there. We did not know where but we were determined to search for it until we find it. We knew that this was going to be a very long journey but who cared? We were more than prepared for it. When I started my house project the only true capital I had was my unwavering faith in God and the will to never turn back. I always thought that I understood what it meant when the Bible says ‘now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen’ See Hebrews 11:1. The real meaning of this scripture only became a reality when I found myself with only a meter high wall of what was supposed to be a house. I worked so hard for the past 4 years using about R500 of my salary and the family living on the R240 balance. I will forever be thankful to Joyce, my wife for her deep heart and steadfastness during those years. A lot of women usually put too much pressure on their husbands and end up pushing them off focus. There is something most women don’t understand about men. We have the focus of lion; once we have locked our eyes on something we see and hear nothing else. I call it the ‘pipe’ vision. It’s like we look at something through the telescope with one eye closed. Women on the other hand are experts in multi tasking. They have that rare ability to do more than one project at a time. So my wife remained fully supportive during those years urging me on and sometimes helped me with the building task.
There were only two of us in my building project. I was the bricklayer and I had a gentleman helping me, so you can imagine the burden I faced since I had no previous experience whatsoever in construction work but somehow I managed to erect a 170 square meters house. I must admit that this was the most trying period in my life and with discouragement as my most constant companion I had to continually fight to stay on track. Joyce had to revive my faith every day telling me that I was already in the middle of the journey and turning back was no longer an option. One day I came across another translation of the bible that gave me a better understanding. It explained Hebrews 11; as ‘now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see’ I was hoping and trusting God to see me through this project a day at a time. This kept me going for the next 4 years. It took me a whole 8 years to build the house. I started with my dream when I was 31 and when it was finished I was now 39.
During those eight years it felt like my life was on ‘pause’ and I only woke up eight years later. With the house finished and R50,000 spent I looked back and saw the faithfulness of God. You will never know the power of faith until you take your first step of faith with God and nothing else in sight. My family became rooted in the path of unwavering trust. We now knew that all things were possible for us. I looked at the community around us and became aware of one thing; nothing had changed during those 8 years except the house I built. This meant that everyone else has been observing me do things and they had actually done nothing at all. It is the easiest thing for you to fail in this life and all you have to do is to try and wait for the perfect moment, which in my case never came. I did the bricklaying, plastering, electricity, carpentry, plumbing, tiling, roofing, ceilings, I even designed my customized window frames, bought the steel and welded them. With the house now complete we had a better place to live in. now our house had 3 bedrooms; dining room; lounge 2 kitchens 2 bathrooms and a reception room and a nice veranda.
Joyce was now running a small tuck shop at a school and she was able to buy the furniture on credit and we furnished the house. We were tempted to settle for our hard earned victory and stay in this house, by the way this was 8 long years of hard labour, sweat and tears, but no, we were not going to stay, time was running out and all we managed to acquire was a house in an ancient township. We agreed to go on with our plan to try to get a better place. We evaluated the property and had an estimate of R120, 000. To us this was going to be a jackpot. The municipal value of the house was R750. [Seven hundred and fifty rand] we spent fifty thousand to build it. And R120 thousand was surely going to save our lives.
A number of interested buyers came to view the house but their banks were not prepared to pay that much for a house in that area. We were being given offers around 50 percent of the actual value. Another obstacle came before us; we were hoping to get at least R100 thousand but what do we do with R60,000 we thought to ourselves; it would have been better to have saved the R50,000 that we spent on the house plus the R750 which was the value. This would amount to about R51 thousand, and without the eight years hard labour. But we decided to take an offer of R75 thousand rand which was the highest. After paying off the arrears on the electricity, water and rates that we had with the municipality we were left with R62 thousand rand. We took this amount and evacuated the house without a guarantee of a place to stay.
We moved out of the house within a week after getting the money. The house we moved into belonged to a young couple in our Church. It was a beautiful house in a very upmarket suburb in Soweto. They were no longer living in the house because it was haunted by ghosts so they just left it as it was not even locked. So they told us to move in if we didn’t mind the ghosts. We didn’t mind so we moved in. To be continued. MVK