Know your Benoni: Music is his food of love

Matthews Dhlomo.

Cars drive by – with many motorists not noticing him – yet the distinctive sound of his instrument reverberates along a large stretch of 14th Avenue.

Many people do not know that Matthews Dhlomo (43) is a multi-talented individual.

He plays no fewer than five instruments, holds a diploma in marketing and has a black belt in Kyokushin karate.

He knows his way around the piano, trumpet, drums, percussion and saxophone (which he is still learning).

Despite his talents, he is not employed on a full-time basis, at times earning his bread as a gardener and freelancing as a musician.

The Chief Albert Luthuli Park resident hopes to change this bleak outlook by finding employment, which will enable him to establish a non-profit organisation dedicated to the arts and sport.

Dhlomo started his musical journey in his early teens, in a church brass band, in Wattville.

After his schooling, he moved to Cape Town and completed a national diploma in marketing management at the University of the Western Cape.

While in the Western Cape, he worked for a major food retailer as a department manager.

Dhlomo moved back to Gauteng, but was unsuccessful in transferring his job, which forced him to resign.

He last had formal employment five years ago, as a merchandiser.

You will now find him earning a living on 14th Avenue on weekends and public holidays, playing gospel songs, engaging some members of the public at the intersection.

“It is awesome, I get lifted when people come to me,” said Dhlomo.

“Some people come to me and hold my hand and we start praying,” he said.

“That encourages me to not stop playing.”

The robust man said he earns about R400 a day at the intersection on a good day, while he walks away with around R120 on a bad day.

Dhlomo now dreams of setting up an NPO to give back to the community.

“Music is part of my life, but I can’t succeed without a job,” he said.

He said once he finds work, he will establish a business and then use his spare time and money to set up an NPO.

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