|Nomajama, pictured above on the left, together with her colleague, Gloria Feleza, on her right, are two of the thousands of people in South Africa providing an essential service in our country at a time when it’s so desperately needed.
She has been with Love to Give since it started in 2006 and thanks to the relationships and networks she has built in the community, is pivotal to the impact Love to Give has in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. Seen here distributing a food parcel donated by Tiger Brands.
Nomajama was born in Crossroads in Cape Town and lived there with her parents until her younger brother was born when she went back to her ancestral home in Cofimvaba to live with her granny. Nomajama is one of six children and is the only girl. She came back to Cape Town to complete her matric in Khayelitsha where her parents had moved during the period of extreme unrest in Crossroads in the late 80s. After matric, she struggled to find any work and then got pregnant. Raising a child as a single mother at a young age was hard. Once her baby was a little older, she started to look for other opportunities and heard about courses at Bergzicht in Stellenbosch. She applied and was accepted onto their home management course and then went on to complete their Home Based Care course as well. It was through Bergzicht that was recruited by Love to Give as a community worker in the fledgling NGO.
Nomajama and Gloria both went up to Johannesburg to train with the African Children’s Feeding Scheme. They brought all of this knowledge back with them and applied it to the community in Kayamandi. Nomajama learned about malnutrition and how to work out a child’s BMI and also about building networks and relationships in the community.
A typical day entails monitoring the arrival of the beneficiaries, ensuring that the registers are signed and up to date, doing entry interviews and ensuring all beneficiaries have done a vocational interview, running the support group and workshops, helping with feeding of the school children and distribution of food parcels and then, in the afternoons, doing home visits to new beneficiaries and follow up visits to women who have exited the programme.
These visits are about getting to know people, building trust and observing the dynamics in the family and the living conditions. All of this assists her to guide beneficiaries in a direction that will improve their lives and make them more self-sufficient.
Nomajama loves building relations with people and getting to understand more of others’ circumstances. She says that she has learned as much and probably more from the beneficiaries that she has worked with, as they have learned from her.
“This job is never boring. Working with people from different cultures, and different age groups means that it is always interesting and stimulating. While it can be challenging and tiring, and is emotionally draining at times, it is so rewarding to hear and see how this programme has changed lives. The best part is seeing over the years how the small malnourished school children from when we started have grown and developed. It is good to watch them grow. Some of them have already graduated from university and college and some have even come back to volunteer at Love to Give. That is good.”