From being a Nyaope addict, to sleeping in sewer pipes, to serving some time in prison, to surviving cancer and turning over a new leaf to complete the Comrades Marathon – on one leg, using two crutches.
Xolani Luvuno is living proof that not all heroes need a cape.
The 34-year-old had a sit down with Pretoria News reporter Sakhile Ndlazi to explain how he felt on Sunday during the gruelling 89km marathon.
Marathon organisers allowed Luvuno to start five hours early, so that he could finish by the 6pm cut-off, and he did just that — clocking in at the Moses Mabhida Stadium just before 4.30pm.
Hein Venter spotted him as a homeless man in Irene, Pretoria and decided to do something about it.
After seeing him begging in the corner he stopped to ask Luvuno about his life. The first thing Luvuno said to Venter was: “Hello father, how are you?”
Venter was immediately touched by his approach and took him to his home.
He gave him clean clothes, food and a bed.
Venter asked one of his employees to find a room to rent for Luvuno in Mamelodi.
“I saw something in him. He is my boy,” said Venter, beaming with pride.
Venter got Luvuno off drugs and gave him a job at his perfume company Sunbird perfumes, and finally got him into running
He helped Luvuno break his addiction to Nyaope and got him addicted to running instead.
Luvuno said finishing the race was an achievement he had never imagined would become a reality.