Community workers off to Italy to learn

2017-07-27 06:01
Mzi Ndzuzo and Nokubonga Mepeni show off their travel documents as sponsorship organisor Annalisa Contrafatto looks on.    PHOTO: RAINbow media

Mzi Ndzuzo and Nokubonga Mepeni show off their travel documents as sponsorship organisor Annalisa Contrafatto looks on. PHOTO: RAINbow media

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The clock seems to be ticking slowly by and the days must be passing by even slower for two locals from Samora Machel, who have landed a rare opportunity to travel to the land of haute couture, the leaning tower of Pisa and super cars.

That land is Italy to the uninitiated, and next week is set for their departure.

That pair is Nokubonga Mepeni and Mzi Ndzuzo who will be flying to Italy early next month.

They are not usually high flyers but humble community workers who spend their days teaching dance, art and drama to local youngsters.

As founders of NGO Ubuntubethu, they have been invited to attend an International Cultural Leadership Exchange in Agape in north-western Italy.

They say once they are there they will be working with an established local community radio station- calledRadio Beckwith- for three weeks doing what they do best, community work.

Ubuntubethu was started last year by the two workers who have been part of many other social causes in the community.

Mepeni said that they began the organisation because they both had the same vision around youth empowerment in the arts.

“We have been working in community projects for about 17 combined years now and there was always a time where our visions were not the same, so me and him got along well and we wanted the same things so we joined up and started the organisation in September,” she said.

She added that they host after- school programmes everyday at Tsoga Community Hall in Samora Machel.

“We teach them dance, performance and music. We do our best to take them out of the streets and get them to do positive activities,” she said.

Ndzuzo said that their work may not be as enriching but the rewards were more valuable to them.

“We keep them away from drugs and gangs by engaging them in the arts to watch their growth. Seeing some of them growing to become leaders and take charge is beautiful to watch. At the end we want to create a good future for these young people in Samora,” he said.

The duo say they were invited to the event by the organisors and they needed to raise funds to be able to travel.

“We need money for the air tickets for the trip and we created a crowd funding campaign online and we managed to raise all the money we needed.” The Italian Consulate paid for the visas.

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