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Beneficiary of the week: Mnguni Brothers, Vusi and Sboniso from Umzinto in KwaZulu-Natal

Vusi (32) and Sboniso Mnguni (34) from Umzinto in KwaZulu-Natal were wrongfully imprisoned and sentenced to 106 years each for armed robbery and impersonating police officers in 2005. They were convicted at the age of 14 and 16 respectively and spent 14 years each at Westville prison. They were discovered by Ms. Fanele Mdlalose when she was conducting a Life Skills Training at the prison.

The Mnguni brothers grew up within a business-oriented household which specialised in the buying and selling of goods. Unfortunately, the business had to close down after their father’s passing, which resulted in the establishment being taken over by another owner and still operated at the Mnguni premises while they were still in incarceration. Vusi and Sboniso visited the NYDA Durban Branch after their release as a follow up to the information they had received during the Life Skills Training.   
They received extensive information about the NYDA Grant Programme which is designed to assist young entrepreneurs; applied and were approved the NYDA Grant Fund of R50 000 to purchase stock, equipment and to assist with minor renovations for their establishment, Mnguni Store in 2016. The business specialises in food, personal and home care products. “Our journey has not been easy as we had not been exposed to the formal working environment previously, as well as generating income for ourselves. We were very young when we got arrested. We also had to deal with the stigma of our arrest; as much as some may have known that we were innocent, we had to erase that perception from those who may have thought we committed the crime. The NYDA brought back our dignity,” Vusi said.
He also expressed his satisfaction about their business focusing on people’s needs and ensuring that the community receives their goods and services directed to their well-being. The brothers are also involved in other programmes and conduct motivational talks at various institutions.  
“No matter what situation you are in, do not lose hope”- Vusi & Sboniso Mnguni