A second-year BEd student of the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) and his high school friends turned lockdown into a time of giving.
Buza Ndebele, originally from Wolmaransstad, says when he got home from Kimberley after the university was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he found out that a soup kitchen operating in the Chris Hani section was closed.
“The beneficiaries were people from my street. The closing down of the kitchen caused some of them to go days without eating, as a majority of them rely on social grants,” Ndebele says.
“I decided to call some of my high school friends to join me in helping those less fortunate.”
They are now running a soup kitchen where they serve approximately 150 people, especially children, a hot meal every Friday from the premises of a local crèche.
“We were motivated by the economic status of our location, where many households are spearheaded by unemployed young people, elderly people who are looking after their grandchildren or people who are working in small mines around us,” Ndebele says.
The first week they provided only bread, the second week bread and soup.
“After that we started sharing our initiative on WhatsApp and Facebook, asking for donations. Many people donated and even today we are still getting donations from people.
“I started it as #breadchallenge, challenging my peers to do something productive for our communities during this time.
“We are also collecting clothes for the less privileged for winter, for young and old, including shoes.”
His friends who assist him, who are all home due to the pandemic, are Nontlantla Zondi (also a second-year BEd student at the SPU), Phetogo Sebothe (who completed his honours degree at the University of the Western Cape), Olebogeng Motsamai (in a mechanical engineering learnership), Beauty Mmoledi (who received a degree in Psychology from the University of Johannesburg), Olebogeng Sejeso (a first-year Coaching Science student at the North-West University) and Unathi Ndubatha (currently upgrading her study results in Mafikeng). Friends Nombulelo Zonke and Lebitso Tsalane are still unemployed.
Once Ndebele returns to Kimberley to attend classes at the SPU, those who stay at home will carry on with the project.
“With the number of people coming on board, there is a huge possibility that the kitchen will be running from Monday to Friday.”
This SPU student is passionate about helping others and his plans for the future are already made.
He wants to start an organisation that will, amongst other things, provide sanitary products to the least privileged young people, help young people to access tertiary institutions through bursaries, distribute school uniforms to underpriveleged learners attending schools in the area and serve breakfast at school to learners who come from families in which no one works.
Ndebele also has a vision to play a prominent role in transforming Wolmaransstad into a city, creating jobs, and to continue with a petition requesting a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in this municipality, libraries in the townships – addressing the issue of people having to walk 2 km to 3 km to access a library– and free WiFi in town.
And also, Ndebele says, he wants to build a house for his siblings.
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