SA: Denzel Chirunga goes to law school selling dog beds
Meet Denzel Chirunga – his story reveals the very essence of what Youth Month is all about; have the courage to show your tenacity, even when adversity seems to mean you won’t make it.
You may have seen a post about him circulating on social media in recent days. The brief description of him explained, in part, that he made dog beds to prepare for law school at the University of Johannesburg. As one can guess, the post was shared in various Facebook groups and earned him the support of many people in different communities.
But, as mentioned, it’s a story of tenacity in the face of adversity, and here’s why. Chirunga’s family is originally from Zimbabwe, and on a fateful day, as her parents were traveling by bus to Zimbabwe. The bus was involved in an accident that killed them. At 17, although he was orphaned, he was not left alone as his grandmother came to guide and feed him.
Through her teachings, she would teach him how to run a home, teaching him the importance of learning to cook, clean, and, the skill that would apparently help him the most so far, sewing.
Now a freshman law student, he chose the degree program because he felt it was important to find a way to protect children who are being abused or end up in violent environments.
As he learns practices that will help him protect the most vulnerable, in the process he also wags his tail sewing dog blankets – the profits of which he uses to get into the service industry. “I make these dog beds myself, from scratch,” he said.
A job he thinks he wouldn’t have been able to do if his grandmother hadn’t taught him valuable entrepreneurial skills he would use today.
At first, when his grandmother taught him all these skills, he got frustrated with her, but the more she taught him, the more he realized that it was all for him, “Now I can make a living selling these dog beds .
Chirunga’s talents don’t stop at dog beds; it also manufactures ironing board covers, picnic blankets, placemats, car seat covers and cushions. “I’ve sold a lot of dog beds so far, especially in the Fourways area.”
His message to troubled youth is to embrace the skills someone might want to teach you. “They don’t ‘abuse’ you, rather they teach you a skill that will help you make something of yourself.”