We’ve christened the house with a name: the Lucky 5 Star. Thanks to Lucky, living here is like staying in a five-star hotel.

Lucky in the garden, in front of his favorite fern tree.

Lucky, whose name is actually Mashudu in his native language of Venda, had a birthday two days before I arrived. He’s 33. He has been living and working here for a decade as an employee of Horst, our landlord. Lucky’s father also worked for Horst, which is how Lucky got this job after moving to Joburg from his family’s home near the Zimbabwe border.

When Lucky first came to work here in his early 20s, he was employed solely as the gardener. He lived in the garage, sleeping in the space in front of Horst’s car. Soon he was able to move into the small apartment adjoining the garage, and when the maid left Horst hired Lucky to take care of the house.

In addition to maintaining the garden, Lucky does the dishes (without a dishwasher), laundry, and ironing. He cleans the house from top to bottom. When something is broken, Lucky fixes it. He paints and hangs curtains and does whatever else is needed to keep the property beautiful and comfortable for everyone who lives here. But he remains a gardener at heart.

I asked Lucky how he figured out how to do all the things he does here. “I learned,” he said. Whenever Horst asks him if he knows how to do something, Lucky says yes. And then he figures out how to do it and does it.

I’m also pleased to say that Lucky enjoys reading my blog.

I wanted to take some time to interview Lucky and take his photo for this post. I asked when he has a day off.  “Never,” he said. Lucky works seven days a week – on the days that he doesn’t work here, he works at other houses in the neighborhood. Lucky uses much of his salary to support his family, including his father, who is ill.

We’re lucky to have Lucky.

Lucky under MY favorite tree in the garden — a rock karee tree.

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