Look at Solly now, mayor's mom boasts on his 38th birthday

City of Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga and his mom Granny during his 38th birthday celebration.
City of Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga and his mom Granny during his 38th birthday celebration.
Image: SIPHO MABENA

When Granny Msimanga single-handedly raised three boys and a girl in a shack in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, it never occurred to her that one of them, the "hyper-active" Solly Tshepiso Msimanga, will one day become a mayor.

“It was hard raising them as a single parent but I had to be strong for them. Here they are today, now they are men. One of them is a mayor,” the 54-year-old mother said.

She was speaking during the birthday celebration of the City of Tshwane mayor, who turned 38 on Monday.

Reminiscing about Msimanga’s childhood, Granny said the mayor was hyper-active, inquisitive and reasoned like an adult.

“He was a very hyper-active child. Whenever he wanted to know something he would demand answers now. He did not care how you took it and he reasoned like an adult though he was a child. He was an amazing child,” she said.

Granny said she never thought Msimanga would become the mayor of a metropolitan municipality, which is home to the country’s  capital city.

“I did not expect anything this big from him but through the grace of God, who gave me strength to raise them and put them through school, he is the mayor,” she said.

Msimanga celebrated his special day with more than 40 aged and sickly people from the townships of Soshanguve, Mamelodi, Ga-Rankuwa and Atteridgeville in a small ceremony held at the Tshwane municipality headquarters, Tshwane House, in Pretoria.

He thanked his mother for raising him against all odds, saying his mother was his pillar of strength who taught him never to feel sorry for himself.

“There was a time when we had nothing, growing up in a shack. You taught me to be strong, not to give up. I love you mama,” the mayor said to his mother as tears welled in her eyes.

Msimanga said he decided to celebrate his birthday with the aged and sickly people because they represented where he comes from.

“I was raised by my grandmother and my mother. When I look at these old people. I think of my grandmother …somebody that I wish could be here today to see everything that we are doing in the city,” he said.

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