Tom Vilakazi, local animal lover and skating enthusiast, is combining both his passions of skating and dogs to make a difference in the lives of the Sweetwaters community’s youth and their dogs recently launched the NPO, Uthando Lwenja (which means “for the love of dogs” in isiZulu), is an outreach programme aimed at helping stray dogs and dealing with rabies in the Sweetwaters area.
He is using his skating and longboarding skills to raise funds for the hospital clinics he runs in the Sweetwaters area by offering skating classes to the local community. You might spot him skating around Hilton on Saturday mornings, advertising his services as a skating instructor.
Vilakazi, who works as a kennel handler at the uMgeni Veterinary Clinic, completed the Mpophomeni-based Funda Nenja programme, a community initiative that strives to build strong relationships between children and their dogs, from the years 2010 to 2015, until his puppy was tragically poisoned and died in 2015.
He is now focusing his energy on helping other youth and dogs in the Sweetwaters community. Although his love for dogs is the driving force behind Uthando Lwenja, his mission is twofold – “To improve the life of dogs in rural areas, and set young people on the road to becoming good citizens,” Vilakazi explained.
He is appealing to the Pietermaritzburg community to support his skating lessons, and his efforts to raise funds for Uthando Lwenja. His skating lessons are held on Sundays from 9am in Hilton. To book a lesson, you can message Tom on 066 346 2907 or WhatsApp him on 061 456 4037.