Life dedicated to lending a hand to needy

For self-employed East London businesswoman Zintle Nondwangu, giving comes naturally.

ON A MISSION: Zintle Nondwangu lives to make a lasting impact in the lives of the homeless around East London. Picture: SUPPLIED

The 35-year-old Mdantsane-born woman grew up in a home that was always open to passersby who wanted something to eat.

This foundation instilled the nature of giving in Nondwangu’s life that led her to give to the less fortunate.

Nondwangu said she decided to extend a helping hand to the homeless during Christmas holidays, when everyone was spending time with their families.

She got a group of friends together, and they made close to 100 food parcels and drove around East London handing them out to homeless people.

She turned the initiative into a annual event, and spent the following Christmas preparing lunch and treats for a shelter for abandoned kids.

“Having more than what other people have makes me a giver.

“I’ve discovered that when you give, it makes a difference that runs deeper than you will ever know.”

In 2015 Nondwangu took over her church’s soup kitchen, The Hands of Mercy. The soup kitchen, which is located in Arcadia, feeds more than 100 homeless people every Saturday morning.

The social initiative also donates clothing to homeless people.

Nondwangu said when they first began, they would drive around town looking for homeless people and transport them to the church.

“It’s grown so much that they just come by themselves now.”

Nondwangu has been part of initiatives that raise funds for charities and needy school pupils, but she said working with homeless people has a special place in her life.

“Imagine being hungry for a day. I’d be grumpy. What about those who never know where their next meal is going to come from?

“The soup kitchen is more than just a plate of food every Saturday.

“It’s a haven with a free meal after scrapping to get by all week.

“It’s a safe space where those homeless people get hope and a guaranteed meal.”

She said she would love to have her own safe house for the homeless, which would run around the clock.

“If I could stop everything else in the world and just help people, I would have fulfilled a huge part of myself.”

A burning desire she has is to see organisations in East London making a collective effort to help the homeless and needy.

“It would be great if we all helped people together and changed their lives. If organisations partnered up and conversed, so much would happen. We would certainly have a lasting impact in this city.” — nonsindisoq@dispatch.co.za

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