Feisty tourism lady lives for the future

2015-07-02 06:00

Nonzame Pre-School little ones draped in colorful blankets donated by Laura Ndukwana.

Nonzame Pre-School little ones draped in colorful blankets donated by Laura Ndukwana.

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It is often said that dynamites come in small packages and that perfectly sums up thepersonality of the petite but feisty Laura Ndukwana.

Ndukwana runs a township tour company and she firmly believes that “tourists must play their part in changing our society.”

“For too long tour guides have been accused of treating townships like a zoo where people come, look at the residents from behind tinted windows, take pictures and leave afterwards,” she said.

On June 14 to celebrate the birthday of his late son, Samora, she organised blankets for children at Nonzame Pre-School in Gugulethu.

“I have a long standing partnership with the school and I felt that this winter I must give them something to keep them warm,” she said.

Apart from sponsoring the school, she runs a communal garden project there.

“Tourism must benefit the community, otherwise we are missing the point if we are not doing that,” she tells me.

A day later Ndukwana drags this humble scribe of the Mkonto clan to Nyanga Stadium where we watch Computer Stars football club juniors playing under the watchful eye of coach Skhukuku Toli .

Toli started this team in 1981 and he supports it from the funds he makes by selling sweets and cigarettes at the Nyanga bus terminus.

But his burden has lessened somewhat, ever since he met Ndukwana who spotted the team whilst bringing in tourists to the field years ago. “They were playing without proper uniforms and when this young lady came their lives changed. She organised us kits and is our number one supporter,” enthused Toli. The match ends, Ndukwana rushes to the boot of her car and brings out “goodies” ,much to the delight of tired but excited players.

She has brought them juice and cakes in memory of her son.

“When my son died I adopted these little laaities,” she says with a knowing smile.

Ndukwana said Toli’ s passion for sport drives her to keep the boys happy.

“This man has invested his life in these children and I wish their families can be part of what happens here. It’s too much for one person,” she said

The feedback she receives from tourists and the community is overwhelming.

Walter and Margrit Frey from Switzerland wrote on her Facebook page:

“Thank you very much again for your very informative tour!

“We learnt a lot not just from what you showed us but also from what you told us in your interesting explanations, stories and comments. Some pieces of information you gave us really shocked us. We were impressed by your commitment, strength and perseverance.

“The children at your school touched us the most. By giving them education and regular meals you give them hope for the future and enable them to work towards better living conditions in the townships.

We wish you every success for all your useful projects.”

Ndukwana’s passion knows no boundaries and she has vowed to do more to uplift the community.

“I come across many hard-knock situations in the townships, but I refuse to give up because I know many children aspire to be better persons.” Her devotion and perseverance can be traced to her late father, Alfred Sebenzile Ndukwana, a trusted boxing timekeeper. Boxing South Africa WC manager Andile Klaas remembers Laura as a young ‘daddy’ girl who always accompanied Alfred to boxing matches.

“She was always full of energy and she loved people,” said Klaas

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