Affordable Internet access to Walmer Township residents has been cut off after thieves broke into the Biza Internet Café and made off with five of its six computers.
Café owner Michael Makeleni, 43, said he had opened the venture in the Walmer Enterprise Village in 2009 with a God-inspired vision to provide affordable Internet access to poor children and job seekers in the Port Elizabeth township where he was born and bred.
The theft was a blow to the community and he could not afford to replace them. But he was hopeful that there were people in the city who were in a position to donate old computers to keep his project going. Makeleni can be contacted at 082 759 0008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The stolen computers were originally donated by local and overseas supporters. The thieves had forced open security gates to get to the computers, triggering an alarm. He planned to upgrade security by securing each computer within a security cage when the café was closed, and by contracting an armed response service.
Makeleni said his poor parents had provided him with a Christian upbringing. He had left school in 1980 after completing Standard 1. In the late 1980s, during the height of the South African liberation struggle he was nearly “necklaced” by township “comrades” for the crime of playing soccer for Walmer Celtic — a white club. “The tyre was there and the paraffin was there. I feared I was going to die and I asked God to help me as I was powerless.”
He was rescued by police who arrived in the nick of time. From that moment on he believed that God had spared him for a special reason and he sought to live a life of faith and obedience to God’s calling. He felt especially called to reach out to young people who were far away from God.
Over the years he had found work in many different fields. In 2002 he was blessed with a job with a tour company and last year he qualified as a registered tour guide, a profession which he carries out on a part-time basis.
He opened the Internet café in 2009 after a friend taught his basic computer skills. In December last year he started a youth soccer club called Young Brothers, with the goal of using sport to keep young people out of trouble.
Makeleni is married to Jeanette and has a son. He lives in Forest Hill but his mission field is Walmer Township.