Ghosha Maffei: Reaching out is her motto

2019-02-14 06:01
< Ghosha Maffei (73) both enigmatic and translucent, introvert and extrovert, academic and down to earth, stubborn and tender-hearted, and extremely joyful. Photo:SUPPLIED

< Ghosha Maffei (73) both enigmatic and translucent, introvert and extrovert, academic and down to earth, stubborn and tender-hearted, and extremely joyful. Photo:SUPPLIED

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GHOSHA Maffei is both enigmatic and translucent, introvert and extrovert, academic and down to earth, stubborn and tender-hearted, and extremely joyful – this 73-year-old native of New Jersey in the USA, travels the globe to protest against poverty and unfairness.

From unobtrusive beginnings she has grown to live a life of comparative freedom, yet driving herself to a continual battle against social injustice. This involvement started after university when she became a union organiser in New York; it has marked most of her life, and at present finds her working amongst people in need in Port Elizabeth while residing in Jeffreys Bay. Her life has been a tour de force, especially since most of her altruistic outreaches had to be realised without a guaranteed source of income.

After high school in Woodbridge, New Jersey, she studied BA (Labour, Education and Women’s Studies) at Rutgers University; MA in Public Administration at the university of Tennessee; then one year at law school in Nashville; and finally a diploma in Biofeedback.

Then followed a career so versatile that no CV can do justice to the years spent to live a life that would satisfy her insatiable hunger to reach out to the needy. This inner drive took her to lecturing at colleges and working for 2 years in India with women’s liberation groups. Italy, Hungary and Germany were next on her bucket list. After Hawaii, Greece followed, where she laboured on behalf of re-fugees in 2016.

She did a stint in Los Angeles, doing house sitting, caring for people’s houses and dogs in their absence. Afterwards she travelled to Istanbul, Egypt and Morocco. Then, in 2017, she come to South Africa on invitation and started working in Kwanoxolo in Port Elizabeth. She brought enough money from good Samaritans in the USA to help in this part of the city where women had been labouring without a stipend for about three years. She cared for kids in the township, feeding them and doing fund raising. She taught English and somehow found enough money to help some of them to go to college.

She returned to Port Elizabeth, helping to erect a fence to ward off danger, and at the same time keeping in contact with friends in America through a website. She is still in Jeffreys Bay, doing house sitting (looking after people’s property) and will be returning to the States later this year.

This live wire who sums up her character in the words Truth, Justice, Freedom, Joy, is the epitome of determination. “When I want something done, I do it. I am responsible enough to complete everything I start.” She reckons her greatest success is rising from poverty and studying under difficult circumstances. She reckons raising three fine children through it all was one of her better achievements.

If she could live her life again, she would learn to surf. And she would travel more, while concentrating on personal contact.

Where she would find the time, is a riddle.

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