Gospel star has come a long way, says mom
From a poor background plagued with sickness, pain and suffering, 25-year-old budding gospel artist, Lungisani Ntuli, is a role model.
Ntuli, from Inanda outside Durban, is the second child in a family of three.
He won the music reality show I want to Sing Gospel and took home a whopping R100000 and a recording deal with Lindelani Mkhize Entertainment.
Speaking to Sowetan in the family's three-roomed house, his unemployed and illiterate mother Duduzile Ntuli, 48, said she still could not believe it's true.
"I feel like I'm dreaming and someone is going to wake me up and tell me that it's not true.
"I still can't believe that my own Lungisani has won as other contestants were also excellent.
"When he was announced the winner, I cried so much that I had a headache," she said.
Ntuli said she still cries "tears of joy" whenever she thinks back to the time Lungisani was sick.
"He must have been seven years old when he had severe stomach pains. I remember that I would stay awake the whole night looking after him.
"There were times when I gave up on him and prayed to God that it would be OK if He took him because of the pain he was going through," said a sobbing Ntuli.
While was growing up, Lungisani always said he wanted a well-paying job so he could pull his family out of poverty, she said.
"After completing his matric, we did not have money to send him to a tertiary institution, so he searched for temporary employment and was lucky to be employed at Mtshebheni police station as a cleaner," she said.
She said Lungisani used to travel on foot from home to work because his salary was used to buy food for the family.
"As time went on, he bought himself a bicycle to travel to work, and one day he fell from it.
"His colleagues and police came to check up on him, and that made me realise he was very special."
Ntuli is expected to return home on Sunday where throngs of locals will gather to give him a hero's welcome.