Every morning I walk through my neighbourhood to pick up a cup of coffee. On the way I say good morning to the broom-sellers, wave at the ladies selling baskets and say hi to the car-guards.
Anyway, there is a particular car guard who always gets my attention. When he’s not guarding cars he sits on a brick on the side of the road, head down, with a piece of paper in his lap.
The other day I went over and asked if I could have a look at what he was doing. Oh my gosh! With a little HB pencil and on an old scrap of paper, Jusman (I found out his name) had created a work of art. He sits there, drawing street scenes. In this particular picture he had drawn all the people that I say hello to – the broom-sellers, the paper recyclers, the basket-sellers, and people like me who walk the streets and sip their coffee.
It was a pretty amazing drawing, on a pretty dreadful piece of paper with an even more dreadful old worn down pencil.
I photographed Jusman and asked if he would mind if I shared his pic on Social Media.
‘Maybe you’ll sell a drawing,’ I told him, not really thinking it would happen.
‘Please do, he said, in his very kind and gentle voice.
What followed was pretty amazing.
A reader in England sent me money.
‘Please buy Jusman some decent art equipment,’ she wrote.
I went to Herbert Evans Art Shop in Rosebank, which is close to all our Johannesburg Guest Houses and bought paper, crayons, pastels, charcoal and a whole bunch of stuff that neither I nor Jusman had ever seen before.
And then – someone in Australia asked for a picture. It took Jusman one week to do it. It’s now sitting on her mantlepiece in Sydney, waiting to get framed.
Someone else in New Zealand asked for one and has already send payment. It’s being drawn by Jusman as I type.
And Jusman has bought a new pair of shoes. His first pair of brand new shoes. And with money from the next pic, he’s going to buy a winter jacket . And if he sells another one, he’s going to save that money for a rainy day.
Apart from his talent, Jusman is an extraordinary young man. He’s still on the corner and he’s still guarding cars. But now he has some decent paper and decent materials to use. Maybe an easel is next.
Maybe world wide fame thereafter.
You can contact Jusman if you want to on 073 315 4339.
Or, you’ll find him in Melville, on the corner by Pablo’s Eggs-Go Bar.