From humble beginnings, Tildon sets an example for young people

Tildon Uiwat,19, originally from Westlake, wants to be a good role-model for the children of Westlake.

Tildon Uiwat,19, was born in the bush next to the M3.

His family was one of the first to move into an RDP house in Westlake Village in the late 1990s.

His mum could not look after him and his brother Robert, now 21, and so she sent one-year-old Tildon, also known as Austen, to stay with his grandmother in Oudtshoorn.

He returned at the age of 7 when his mum was working as a cleaner at Pollsmoor Prison.

He attended Westlake Primary School but says he did not fit in, speaking Afrikaans and being the only black boy there.

He was sent to Paarl to live with his mum’s sister and to do grades 7 to 9.

“When teachers asked what I wanted to do I told them I wanted to be a cook and look after children,” he said.

The school sent him on a course where he studied children’s rights and what to do in certain situations such as when five children are living in one room. He is now waiting to hear if he has passed.
Tildon has returned to Westlake where he has been a regular volunteer at the Orphan and Care Foundation’s Kids Club since he was 14.

“I watch children walking up and down the road hungry, waiting for their mum to come from work and feed them. Some drop out of school early because of drinking and smoking drugs. I want to make my own programme to look after children, to feed them. I want my own kitchen,” he said.

His face lights up when he says he wants children to look up to him.

“I tell them if you don’t have matric you will not find work. I want them to see that I’m a success and that they don’t have to turn to robbery, smoking drugs or joining gangs.

“I was taught not to run away when I see a problem child and not to leave them alone but to look after them.

“I don’t care how long it takes but this is what I want to do,” said Tildon.

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