Woman with a heart of gold

IN celebration of Women’s Month, Maritzburg Echo spoke to Zinhle Ngcobo from KwaMafunze, Elandskop, who is empowering the community.

Ngcobo, who is originally from Cleland, moved to KwaMafunze in 2013 after getting married and has opened a community centre called KwaMafunze Community Centre where she takes care of children who come from disadvantaged families. The centre was opened in 2017.

Speaking to Maritzburg Echo, she said, when she relocated to KwaMafunze, it broke her heart to see young people “doing nothing” with their lives. She said most of them were already using drugs because they did not have activities to keep them busy.

“Seeing them [youth] in the street the whole day begging for money did not sit well with me. My upbringing was very difficult, I had to beg and stay over at my neighbours because of the situation at home. I told myself that I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else, that is why I took [the] initiative and started helping the youth of KwaMafunze.

“Before I opened a centre, I started by organising soccer and netball teams and did tournaments in the area. I wanted to get close to the youth first and get to know them and get an idea of where they are coming from. I discovered that lots of them came from very disadvantaged families.

“I then decided to enrol in studying social auxiliary work because I wanted to gain knowledge on where to start if I want to help them.

“I opened a centre and started visiting their families individually and spoke to them. I wanted them to be aware of what I was trying to do and offer my advice to them on how they can support their children and motivate them to do something good with their lives,” she said.

Ngcobo said the centre now operates everyday and children and youth come in on a daily basis to get food. They also have programmes that they involved in to assist them, such as career guidance and motivational talks.

She did not stop with the centre but continued and targeted the youth that were addicted to whoonga and could not go to school.

“I hold programmes with them and they are doing very well. I love them a lot and I will do anything to help them.

“I don’t want them to end up in the streets doing nothing. I know that their talents and that they have dreams too. They just need someone to guide them and give them direction. Since I started with them, they have shown that they are very committed and they really want to change.

“I have always wanted to help people even when I was growing up.What I am doing now makes me very happy because it is something that I am passionate about,” she said.

Ngcobo said she does not only want to focus on the youth but also on the elderly people and other community members as well.

She said her dream is to see the youth make something of themselves and do well in the future.

Ngcobo is currently a volunteer at the Pietermaritzburg Children’s Home where she fulfils the role of social auxiliary worker.