A homeless South African man has become an Internet sensation after his eloquent discourse with a passing driver did the rounds on social media.
Bonga Sithole is known to sleep rough in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, and his articulate pleas for spare change regularly catch unsuspecting passers-by off-guard.
One such exchange was recorded by an astonished female motorist and later posted online, racking up hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of ‘likes’.
In it, Bonga can be heard saying “I am not defined by this cup” as he lifts his McDonald’s paper begging jar for the camera.
He continues: “Nor am I destined for such harm. Far more profound is what lies within than what the masses perceive visually.”
Bonga also shows off his wit, tapping his paper cup and saying: “I’m in the process of saving.”
And earlier in the clip, he can be heard explaining: “I’m in the process of writing a book.
“It’s an oral autobiography of my life based on domestic and social circumstances.”
Bonga’s Internet fame led him to be tracked down by a podcaster, to whom he opened up about his tough upbringing.
He told how he grew up between Zola, Soweto with his mother and stepfather and Rustenberg with his father.
His father owned a successful taxi business and used his earnings to send his son to an elite Afrikaans primary school.
Bonga returned to Zola for secondary school, where he was so bright that he was able to skip a grade.
But problems began when his alcoholic stepfather began abusing him verbally and told him to move out of the home and back in with his biological father.
Bonga suspected his stepfather was jealous of his father’s wealth and took his jealousy out on him.
And things went from bad to worse when his father was fatally shot nine times in the head while he was in secondary school.
His late dad’s taxi business was seized by his aunt, who Bonga suspects ordered the hit on his father.
With no dad to stay with any more, Bonga eventually decided it was better to live on the streets than endure his stepfather’s verbal scoldings.
He dropped out of school and resorted to begging.
But Bonga – a keen reader – is now writing a book of his own after telling how he was approached by a man who said he would help him publish his life story.
His dream, he said, was to put his eloquence and sonorous tones to good use as a radio jockey for the South African Broadcasting Corporation.