Mthatha pharmacist ceaseless in helping her community

Mthatha pharmacist Nontutuzelo Sibango.
Mthatha pharmacist Nontutuzelo Sibango.
Image: SUPPLIED

Since establishing a pharmacy in Mthatha 20 years ago, Nontutuzelo Sibango has used her position to give back and support her community.

The pharmacist and mother of two has been involved in a variety of community development activities, drives and projects, and has taken every opportunity to help those around her.

“I haven’t always wanted to be a pharmacist, but I have always wanted to be in the health fraternity.

“I chose pharmacy, and once I was there I was inspired by the passing of my grandmother who was a great role model and had a great influence on my life.

“When she became ill it broke my heart not be able to help her feel better.

“I felt being a pharmacist was an incredible position and an opportunity to honour her and make a difference,” said Sibango, who matriculated from St Johns College and studied at Rhodes University.

She is now the owner of the Link Pharmacy on the corner of Madeira Street and Elliot Road in Mthatha.

Fondly known in the community as “Ntutu”, Sibango, throughout her career, has run various drives and fundraising initiatives to support needy learners, young girls and the elderly.

From a sanitary towel drive that has been running since Sibango established her pharmacy 20 years ago, to regular school uniform and food parcel drives and the inception of the Elliot-Madeira Charity Club for aspiring athletes, Sibango is dedicated to do all she can for her community.

“I am the product of the support, love and kindness of my community. I was raised to understand that when someone is in need, it’s a good thing to share,” said
Sibango, 52, who attributes these lessons to her father.

“My father was the one who encouraged me and made me understand the value of education and the importance of living an impactful life.”

Sibango’s annual Elliot-Madeira Charity Club Race is one of her biggest projects and sees school athletes take part in the marathon each year.

“We started the club in 2014, but before that we had a yearly fun walk or fun run, and we were touched to see how children from disadvantaged backgrounds did not have opportunities to run marathons or races.

The main purpose of the club is to ensure that potential athletes, mainly from disadvantaged backgrounds and schools, are given this opportunity to explore their skills and talents

“The main purpose of the club is to ensure that potential athletes, mainly from disadvantaged backgrounds and schools, are given this opportunity to explore their skills and talents,” Sibango said.

The annual marathon also offers a platform for local school athletes to qualify for bigger provincial and national races. Through the club, Sibango has also helped promising athletes with education bursaries.

One of Sibango’s greatest passions is to support and empower young girls. To mark 20 years of her sanitary towel drive this year, Sibango will be donating more than 4,000 sanitary towels to two schools in her area.

“We have always been involved with sanitary towels, but this year we celebrate 20 years and part of that celebration is that every month this year we will give 200 sanitary towels to two schools,” said Sibango, who was born and raised in Ntlaza.

Sibango has hosted annual Christmas parties for the past five years, where donations of blankets, food parcels and toiletries are made to 1,000 elderly people in need.

Her back-to-school drives have seen many schoolchildren receive shoes and backpacks and she has also donated bursaries to top performing matric pupils in her area.

Because we come from a community where there are so many needs, we try to make any contribution where there is need

“Because we come from a community where there are so many needs, we try to make any contribution where there is need,” Sibango said.

She said being the reason for someone’s smile and contributing positively to her community was one of the biggest rewards in life.

“It feels good to make any small contribution and be part of building a better community and possibly making a difference.

“Just seeing someone smile and knowing you have contributed to that smile is fulfilling. It is always a great honour to be part of making a positive impact on an individual or a community,” Sibango said.

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