Little Zach’s heart touched by peanut vendor

Zukisa Mayanta receiving his gift from Zach McDonald.

With Christmas quickly approaching, a 7-year-old Diep River boy recently gave a gift to a peanut vendor in Wynberg.

Tanielle Lloyd says she spoke to her son, Zach McDonald, at the end of November about how he could do something to make one person’s Christmas more memorable.

He piped up, she says, suggesting he help a peanut vendor who stands at the traffic lights at the top of Waterloo Road, in Wynberg, by buying all his peanuts.

“He stands there daily, come rain or sunshine,” Ms Lloyd said. “He sells peanuts to the public to try to make money.

“His morning wave and greeting and his contagious smile clearly touched the heart of a little boy, and me.”

Ms Lloyd suggested to Zach that instead of buying all his peanuts why not give the money he had been saving all year to the “peanut man”.

“Zach loved the idea and kept adding to the coins in a jar which he kept next to his bed,” she said.

Ms Lloyd asked Zach what he wanted the man to do with the money. He answered, “Maybe buy more peanuts to sell, so he can make more money. Or maybe buy himself something nice for Christmas.”

On Monday December 7, the jar was full, and Zach and Ms Lloyd counted the coins. There was R472.

After school, Zach gave the gift-wrapped jar of coins to the man, learning that his name is Zukisa Mayanta.

“This is for you, Merry Christmas,” said Zach.

Zach told the Bulletin that Mr Mayanta was very happy with the gift and said, “Thank you, God bless.”

Asked what he would have done with the coins if he had not given them away, Zach thought hard and said he would have probably bought a video game.

Zach said the jar had been full of the pocket money he had made from doing chores such as sweeping and mopping the floors.

“Now I will save for others,” said Zach.

“It was a brief meet-and-greet and gift handover with Zukisa, but we can go and have a proper chat soon,” said Ms Lloyd.

Mr Mayanta said he was very happy to receive the gift as it was so unexpected. He has been working at the traffic lights for many years, initially selling Funny Money brochures until one of his regular customers, who said she liked his smile, organised a job for him at a shop at the V&A Waterfront.

Manager of Made in SA, Lucas Nkuayanda, said they took on Mr Mayanta as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Yes4Youth programme, on a one year contract.

“The idea of the programme is to give youth experience and a step up in life. Zuki, as we called him, is strong, a hard worker, he’ll find a job,” said Mr Nkuanyanda.

Mr Mayanta said that he is unable to stay at his Nyanga home doing nothing, so he started selling peanuts.

“I have a wife and two children to support, a 6-year-old and a 14-month-old. I used the gift to buy milk and nappies,” said Mr Mayanta.