Good Morning Angels: 11-Year-old boy is the link to family's survival

Good Morning Angels: 11-year-old boy is the link to family's survival

If you wander the streets of the little town of Parys in the Free State on a Saturday, you may just hear the uplifting sounds of a Penny Whistle playing. 

Marnus penny GMA
Source: Supplied

BACKGROUND: This is what happened when a Jacaranda FM listener, Marc, and his husband visited the little town recently. He was intrigued and set off to find the source of the sound, and was quite surprised when he saw the 11-year-old boy who was behind the music. Marc struck up a conversation with the boy, Marnus, about his love of music and how he came to play such a unique instrument so well. Marnus told him that his dad taught him and that his dad, Tienie, is also a musician who plays the drums and guitar in the church band. He also said he would prefer a “D” Penny Whistle and Marc knew that he would buy it for Marnus. But Marc sensed that there was more to this boy’s story. 

As the chat continued, Marnus disclosed shyly that his family had fallen on hard times and that they use his busker earnings to buy food. Both his parents had lost their jobs before COVID-19 lockdown and they moved from Rustenburg to Parys for a cheaper cost of living and possible job opportunities. The family had sold all their belongings of value and have now hit rock-bottom. They also have to move out of the room they’ve been renting by next week.  

The next day, Marc went back to find Marnus to make arrangements for his new Penny Whistle and to speak to his mom, Rianda. He also asked them if he could take a video and write to Good Morning Angels on their behalf… which he did.

In the meantime, Rianda is waiting for news of a job in the kitchen of one of the restaurants in town while dad, Tienie - a truck driver - is trying to renew his PDP-permit. As soon as he can afford to renew the permit, Tienie will be able to take up a trucking job. Despite all the set-backs and financial hardship, Marnus and his little brother, Cilliers, are doing very well at school - their parents make sure of that. The family is keeping the faith that their luck will turn and that they will be back on their feet soon. 

For now, Marnus lets his inner-joy shine through his Penny Whistle and shares his Kwêla with anyone who will listen...

REQUEST FOR: 11-year-old Marnus and his family from Parys

REQUEST FROM: Anonymous Jacaranda FM listener 

ANGEL 1: Petri Venter, representing Econo Foods

SPONSORING: Econo Foods will assist Marnus and his family with a weekly R500 food hamper, delivered to Parys, until the end of the year (R15,000). The Econo Foods team will also financially assist Tienie to renew his PDP licence with a view of assisting him to find a job as a truck driver.

ANGEL 2: The Good Morning Angels Fund NPC 

SPONSORING: The GMA Fund will assist Marnus and his family with rent for three months (R12,000)


Good day Jacaranda Angels,

This past weekend I had the privilege to meet a Gr. 3 boy named Marnus Joubert in the streets of Parys, Free State. Marnus is not just any Gr. 3 boy! He is a very talented Penny Whistle player.

On Saturday, my husband and I were sightseeing in Parys. We are from Pretoria and were checking out the vibes of this little gem of a place. We found a place on Google and when we got there, the first thing I noticed was the sound of the Penny Whistle playing somewhere. I immediately asked the car guard where the sound comes from and who was playing. The guard pointed me in the direction.

It was only some time afterwards when we passed this boy playing the Penny Whistle, and I couldn't help to start a conversation with him - asking him about his musical background and also about his Penny Whistle. He was quite surprised that I even knew what instrument he was playing. In any event, he was such a pleasure to chat with. He has an incredible sense of humour and has a very positive outlook on life.

I sensed there was something that he wasn't too keen to talk about - the real reason why he is busking, playing the Penny Whistle in exchange for a few coins...

I continued the conversation with Marnus and at some stage asked him casually what he does with all the money. Before he started to explain, he asked me to "pinky promise" that I won't tell anyone. I did "pinky promise" and he continued to explain that his family was really struggling and that they are going through a tough time; and that the money helps to put food on the table.

We continued to talk about his Penny Whistle playing and he mentioned to me that he actually needs a "D" Penny Whistle. In that instant, I knew that I was going to buy him the Penny Whistle he wanted - needed. I used the opportunity to get his parents' contact details to ask their permission and if it was in order to sponsor the "D" Penny Whistle.

I later called his mother, Rianda and also spoke to his father, Tienie. They agreed to allow me to buy the "D" Penny Whistle. I explained that I will do this at the end of June and I intend on honouring this commitment.

We left later the day to go to the AirBnB where we were staying for the weekend. But, I couldn't stop thinking about the family and the pleasant interaction I had with Marnus, and the passion he has for the music.

The following day I had to return to Parys. I wanted to do something for the family. I wanted to offer up my Discovery Miles and give the cash to Marnus - at least it would contribute towards putting food on the table for a day or so. We went back only to find Marnus wasn't there - it was too early! Marnus mentioned the previous day that they would go to church that Sunday morning, but I must have forgotten about it.

I then sent his mom and SMS to find out if we could meet so that I can give her the money and to see Marnus playing the Penny Whistle again. Not long thereafter, Rianda called me and said that church ended, and that Marnus was at the same spot.

We went to see Marnus and gave him the money. Not long thereafter his mom arrived and we got to meet her in person. It was then that I asked her permission to send an email to Jacaranda's Good Morning Angels, in the hope that something can be done for the family; she agreed shyly. Rianda explained that they lost everything during the pandemic and that they lost their jobs and home. They are originally from Rustenburg in the North West. Rianda was thankful for that what we could do and I could see the terrible hardship in her face. They really seem like good people.

Jacaranda Good Morning Angels, please find it in your hearts to change this family's life. They just need a break. They are between homes and there seems to be a plan for Tienie through the church.

I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Marnus. He plays that Penny Whistle with such passion and he has such great spirit despite the family's circumstances. It is such an honourable thing to do - to use the talents you have to help your family out in times of need.

I did get permission to record a video of Marnus playing his own song called "Marnus se Kwêla". It's only a snippet because of the size of the video clip. Rianda also gave me permission to send this to the Jacaranda Good Morning Angels.

Please Jacaranda Good Morning Angels, please help out here.

I would prefer to stay anonymous if it's possible.

Show's Stories