Mother to many’s compassion stems from her own childhood trauma
Having been rejected by her parents as a child and subjected to further trauma at the age of nine, Duncan Village-born Zandile Mtungata, 45, has made it her mission to help the many youth faced with challenges in her community.
By being a guardian to those who are in need, Mtungata has turned her home into a safe haven for many children who go to bed on an empty stomach.
“My mother was raped by my father when I was conceived.
“They both rejected me and I ended up living at an orphanage up until I was taken under foster care by my grandmother, which is when a tragic incident occurred.
“I was raped when I was nine years old. I did not tell anyone until I was comfortable to do so.”
In 2015, Mtungata’s passion to help the needy in her community grew stronger when she was cooking meals for pupils at Nyathi Primary School.
She would ask the school’s principal for the leftovers to feed needy community members who lived nearby.
“My contract ended at the end of the year in 2016, but I continued feeding people every day, as I could see there are people who are in dire need.
“I am assisted by local charity organisation, Helping Those in Need, which provides me with groceries to cook meals.
“I do not focus only on the youth; there are senior citizens that also come to my house for a meal.
“I am now helping those who are drug addicts to fight the addiction they are suffering from.
“I am glad to see that some have recovered and are making changes in their lives,” she said.
Besides making heart-warming meals for people, Mtungata has created a safe space for those facing hardships.
“I hold prayer sessions and lend a shoulder to cry on for those who feel lonely because I know how it feels to feel lonely and neglected.”
Mtungata hopes to secure a bigger premises to accommodate anyone who needs shelter or a place of safety.
“I pray every day to the Lord to bless me with a bigger place for the people as this is my calling and I am passionate about it.
“I am fighting the childhood trauma that I faced and suffered from.
“I do not want any young person to go through this,” she said.
Her friend, Isisphokazi Vuso, nominated Mtungata because of her passion to make a difference in the community.
“Mtungata is a very strong-hearted woman who will never let anyone who is in need go elsewhere for help when she is able to help them.
“Children adore her — she is a mother, sister, grandmother, friend to many, and I regard her as my sister because of her kindness and warm heart she has for children.
“These are the reasons why I have nominated her as my hero and also the community’s hero,” said Vuso.
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