‘A place called home’

“The Great People of South Africa have become a beacon of hope for our community because most organization only reach certain areas, but they have come inside and are determined to create a change”.

“When I first encountered The Great People of South Africa I had been invited by a Mandilakhe to the workshop, he said Hotdogs were going to be served, who says no to a Hotdog? Certainly not me. I did not anticipate the connection I would have with their work and a month later, there I was, recruiting more people in my community to come along with me to the workshops and dialogue”.

Our diver of change is a single mother to four girls, she lives in Khayelitsha which is one of the most marginalized Townships in South Africa. Gender-based violence and femicide is rife and corrective rape is at an alarming rate, we put an emphasis on corrective rape specifically because her oldest daughter identifies as a lesbian young woman. “As a mother to four girls my worries never end. I am forever concerned about their safety”.

“We do not have access to a lot of resources, our Police stations are dysfunctional, our healthcare facilities are almost non-existent and the unemployment rate, particularly amongst the youth is at its peak and the crime rate is truly disturbing”. She added.

Nosivuyile is a proud beneficiary of the work being conducted by ‘The Great People of South Africa’ she can attest to the idea that, it is young people that will create the visible socio-economic changes that South Africa is desperately in need of, change that benefits the marginalized and the forgotten. her journey with the organization has not been long, yet she has become an integral part of our programs “ I have enjoyed each small and big step I have taken with ‘The Greta People of South Africa”. She said.

For 12 years she was in an abusive relationship with the father of her three daughters and she has never really spoke out about her ordeal due to the fear of being judged “ As a women from a traditional and conservative family, when I left my abusive husband I was seen as a failure, it was as if I was the reason the marriage did not work out”. There is a hurtful saying in IsiXhosa “ Waliwe ngumendo” which translates to “ she’s failed her marriage” . No one will care enough to investigate abuse as it is expected of her as a woman to submit to her husband regardless of whatever situation. She has kept to herself since 2015, when she took her children and moved in with her sister and started divorce proceedings.

Her decision to leave an abusive marriage meant that she had to leave behind a financially comfortable life “ My children depend on me and things really got tough immediately after we got to my sister’s house, she had five more mouths to feed and she was not coping financially”. Nosivuyile persevered and fought every thought and temptation to go back due to financial constraints, she eventually found a job in 2017 and the situation became better. She is however currently unemployed again.

She attended the first workshops we had for women on human rights, “The Great People of South Africa” have really created a safe space for us as women and young girls who have experienced and are prone to gender-based violence. Knowing my human rights and having a full picture of how I can exercise them has uplifted my confidence”.

“I am grateful to this organisation because without them I would still be feeling depressed, I would not have had the opportunity to share my ordeal of surviving abuse and I would not have met other women who have shared my experience and subsequently become my pillar of strength, mostly, this organization has educated me and other participants about the rights of the lgbtqia+ community, this has also strengthened my relationship with one of my daughters”.

Nosivuyile”s oldest daughter identifies as a lesbian young women and has been quoted saying “ My mother has always been a great mom, striving for a better life for us all” she has always been supportive of my sexuality but now I feel that she even has a better understanding of who I am, and this is through the work of this organization on the rights of the lgbtqia+”

For our first dialogues on Section 11, held on the 24th of September, she volunteered and suggested to cook traditional Samp and beans for the event because it was going to be on Heritage day, not that this was enough for her, during group discussions, she also helped with facilitating as she used to work for an NPO and knows what is needed to conduct successful facilitation work. And she said that “being a participant in these workshops and dialogues has really enhanced my confidence, communication and facilitating skills.

The Great People of South Africa’s Community and advocacy organiser Mandilakhe has been a driving force behind Nosivuyile’s active involvement in the organization, he invited her and has really taken her interest by providing her with the opportunity to become part of something different and great. “ When I first met Sis Vee and listened to her story of surviving abuse, I immediately knew that she had to become a part of the change we were about to create in Khayelitsha and I was spot on, she has fitted in so well and I am extremely proud of her for standing up for herself and her children. She is the epitome of what we describe as “iMbokodo” said Mandilakhe.

Nosivuyile is the one now that encourages young girls and women in Khayelitsha to come to our workshops, dialogues, and applications for opportunities for young girl’s initiative. She has has become the motivator of her community members to join “The Great People of South Africa.

“I am only happy to be of service and to help this organization grow because I see the potential they have. Their approach of coming to communities such as ours that have really been forgotten will be what makes them grow fast in similar communities” she said.