“Hepi befday Ndlov’enebatha”

2015-08-27 06:00

The writer pays tribute to Professor Nomvula Mtetwa,florals, left, one of the pioneering developmental intellectuals in the forced removal era.

The writer pays tribute to Professor Nomvula Mtetwa,florals, left, one of the pioneering developmental intellectuals in the forced removal era.

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She pioneered the community centres in the townships, havens of tranquillity and sanctuaries that allowed us to be, to be children in a space where we could enjoy our childhood with gay abandon.

Esenta was the place where you could be anything you wanted to be, from iizkawuti, jumping on the trampoline, do some karate nejudo noBra Seth.

You could be Cassius Clay under the guidance of Bra Khebhen (formally Cabin in the Sky) or excel in tennis, tennis set or table tennis like Tita August who excelled in these games.

The person who made this all possible with ooTeach-as the instructors and centre managers were called then-was uMem Ray as everyone referd to Mrs Nomvula Mthethwa.

Shuu! she had this incredible load of energy that was infectious. She was busy with Women’s Federation for developing the skills necessary to survive in this tough and harsh environment they found themselves in after being kicked out of Welcome Estate, Athlone, Goodwood, Witteboom, Kensington, Bo Kaap, Elsies River, Simonstown, Plumstead, Tokai and all over Cape Town.

Proud women who were independent and used to support their families, suddenly found themselves in the barren sandy wastelands of the Cape Flats, far away from friends and family, with no support structures.

Far away from their places of employment with an inadequate public transport system.

Sis Ray organised ooAkhela like uNongqele used to organise young girls in Brownies and Girl Guide groups.

There was also Tat’uTsotso, a Scout Masters of note who produced some of the leading citizens who came out of this movement.

Rhayimorho was the first black Scout to attend a world Jamboree in Sweden.

Charles Mehana was another product who has moved on to high echelons in the church, business, politics and the international Scout movement.

Boxer Nika Khumalo was a product yase senta where he trained under the famous Haarlem Boys Boxing Club. He was led by luminaries like Sydney Macebo Hoho and Bashew Sibaca.

Iisenta were the places where character was moulded, skills were learnt, potential developed and talent unearthed.

Prof Mthethwa, aka Sis Ray, Prof Dadobawo, together with Mrs Koti pioneered and fought for the establishment of these institutions that could be associated with the development of some of the best talent in the townships. Township luminaries like Wallace Mgoqi, the late Ghost Ndindwa, Joe Ndiki, Mzoli and his twin brother Emden Ngcauzle bonke babehamba isenta.

Prof Mthethwa and her team pushed for the establishment of these institutions at a time when people were still reeling from the shock and the brutality of being thrown out of their homes in the areas mentioned earlier.

Angry youngsters were responding by forming gangs based on where they were from.

The most notorious of these being the Spoilers and Amahodi, though there were some smallanyana other groups.

It was at this crucial juncture that the centres played a crucial role in involving youth in alternative activities.

It is at this time on her birthday that we chat with Udadobawo womntu wonke about ikasi and how people’s lives have changed.

Some of these products have gone on to build izindlu ezizi apsteys (upstairs or double storey houses), ezinye zintle ingathi zizakuphuma kum garanto (adverts) abantu bakhona banxibe iihhay chops (high heeled shoes).

Uyakufika abanye bekubuza intarhantarha (ag en tagtig; too much) ngobomi bakhe. Prof Mthethwa, as a true Kasi girl, is fascinated by the use of language yaseKasi, qha uske aye too deep kwi analyisis yakhe ndishiyeke ndizulisa, ndincumile xa esebenzisa amagama antsokothileyo nyhani kwisiNgesi, like oosituation, dixilazoliak (okanye ndim olive njalo eligama).

Maar andiziyekeli, ek moet oook slim trek, ndifakele amagama afana noobecause, naye abone okokuba die’ ou is nie ‘n ngqim nie. Happy birthday Ndlov’enebatha, township life would definitely have been different without you and your team of volunteers.

We hope that next of next year (year after next) uzoba usaqhubeka nomsebenzi wakho kaloku sigqibelene last of last month, ndiyacinga

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