Menzi Mngoma used to be a full-time Uber driver. He is currently recording his first single, has auditioned for the Cape Town Opera company, and is busy singing to audiences on TV and radio.
What changed his life? A viral video.
Earlier this year in May, a video of the 27-year-old singing Verdi’s La donna è mobile while driving his taxi in through Durban was posted on Facebook by a passenger named Kim Davey, who was on a business trip from Johannesburg and was amazed to discover the talent in the self-taught opera singer.
“He was forced to take up a job as an Uber driver to support his young family due to a lack of opportunities for singers like himself in the country,” Davey told the BBC.
After she posted her video online, Mngoma went viral. Over 600,000 people watched the video, floored by the Uber driver’s talent.
Then things began to change very quickly.
With invitations to perform on prestigious shows in the continent and abroad, new roads have opened up for Mngoma.
However, the South African continues to work as a Uber driver. “I’m still working as an Uber driver and it’s something I will continue doing until I’m in a position to leave the job,” he told the BBC. “For the moment, while I am committed and driven to become a professional performer, I need to provide for my family.”