Gompo hails their community worker

Teacher’s encouragement started Ngcengi on the road to public service

Phiwe Ngcengi has been praised as a local hero for his work in upskilling the community of Gompo.
Phiwe Ngcengi has been praised as a local hero for his work in upskilling the community of Gompo.
Image: Sibongile Ngalwa

Phiwe Ngcengi has always aspired to changing his community from being filled with crime and filth to a place everyone can be proud of.

During a life orientation lesson at Kusile Comprehensive, his teacher encouraged pupils to become active and volunteer their time in their communities. This struck a chord with the 17-year-old matriculant.

“That was the first time I became exposed to community work and I absolutely loved it. I identified the Masivuke Community Development organisation.”

The Gompo-based non–profit organisation cares for about 300 people including orphans, the elderly, vulnerable children and their families. Its work includes teaching hygiene, HIV/Aids awareness and vegetable gardening.

Now an assistant project manager there, Ngcengi said it was good to see how many children and adults he had helped coming back or even practising what they had been taught.

“We have different programmes on different days. One of my favourites has been instilling personal hygiene, which many people may take for granted. But many people didn't know the importance of bathing every day.

 “We are also very focused on the youth, in trying to get them off the streets, distracting them from committing crime or even being victims of crime and we engage them with recycling, healthy living, HIV/Aids discussions, indigenous games and sport.”

The organisation taught knitting, beading and gardening. It appealed to sponsors for tools, material and support.

“It has given me such joy doing the work we do here and I’m glad that my work has been noticed and is being appreciated, because I truly am passionate about what I do. I'm happy knowing that every day I do my part, every day we are impacting the community.”

Ngcengi said they also saved a lot of lives by going to see sickly members of the community and linking them with health or social development services.

Pupil Khanya Plaatjie said she enjoyed doing her schoolwork at the centre. “It’s a great place to get peace of mind because at home we are many.”

Mongezi Sobuza said he had a profound learning experience after his uncle died from HIV, especially about the importance of taking treatment medication.

“It's not nice losing a loved one and feeling helpless, not knowing what to do. Phiwe has opened our eyes to ways of living positively,” he said.

X