Unsung hero honoured by new award

2012-07-10 00:00

A COMMUNITY organisation has honoured an unsung hero by naming an award for its staff after him.

Staff of the recently renamed Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) will be eligible for the Skumbuzo Mbatha Award, which will be made for creative and innovative contributions to the organisation.

First to win the award was Thulasizwe Ndlovu, the longest-standing Pacsa employee who has a long-history of promoting social and economic justice.

Pacsa director Daniela Gennrich said Ndlovu had earned the award for being good at listening and teaching communities how to listen to people.

In the violent apartheid days Mbatha, who had been a peace broker but was killed in the aftermath of the Seven Day War, had encouraged the organisation to become involved with people, rather than one that intervened.

Mbatha said: “A main weapon in this struggle for peace and democracy is the unity of our people.” With gradual transformation, Pacsa has adopted an approach of working with communities rather than on behalf of them, in line with Mbatha’s vision.

Gennrich called this approach “community accompaniment”.

Until last weekend Pacsa was known as the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness. In the past, the organisation had mobilised churches — mainly white — in the struggle against apartheid. Since 1994, its members have been practitioners in the fields of social justice and development.

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