News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Friday December 15th 2017

Taxis line up for teenage mechanic

Thabiso Maphalane, 17, fixes a client's car at his parents'€™ Nyanga house after school. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso/WCN

Nyanga taxi drivers have to wait for school to finish before they can get their vehicles fixed by their favourite mechanic.

That’s because the mechanic of choice for many of the taxi drivers is a teenager studying Grade 12.

Young mechanic Thabiso Maphalane is so popular that clients line up outside his father’s yard to book their taxis in.

Maphalane has been fixing cars since he was 10-years-old.

As a boy he watched his father Ben, who is a mechanic himself, fixing cars.

One day Ben was out when a client came to their Nyanga house asking for his CV joints to be replaced and his wheels aligned, the 10-year-old Thabiso single-handedly did the job and has never looked back.

Now seven years later, Thabiso continues to fix cars and saves up the money he earns to pay for university fees after he leaves school. He says he plans to study to be a civil engineer once he gets his matric from Gugulethu Comprehensive High where he currently studies mechanics.

“My father encouraged me to study civil engineering because of the experience I got from his business”, he said.

“The skills I get from helping my father fix the cars help me do extremely well at school.  It becomes so easy to pass and excel because what I am taught at school is what I am doing at home,” said Thabiso.

So well in fact, that he was last year’s winner of his schools’ annual challenge to build a car using only scrap metal.

Thabiso’s dream is to be a qualified mechanic and own his own business someday but he admits, “first I need to get my degree then find employment in a company before starting my own business”. – Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: Gugulethu Comprehensive High, Nyanga, Thabiso Maphalane

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