Educating needy children is Phelisa’s passion

Eastern Cape villager on a mission to give youngsters a fighting chance

Phelisa Nofingxana from Viedgesville is passionate about helping children in her village.
Phelisa Nofingxana from Viedgesville is passionate about helping children in her village.
Image: SUPPLIED

Phelisa Nofingxana, 53, of eMaqhinebeni location in Viedgesville, about 20km from Mthatha, has changed lives in the remote area in many ways.

Nofingxana started giving back to her community by donating a step and slide jungle gym for children because there was no playground in the area.

“In 2004 I opened a library in my rondavel. I helped children with books from various publishers, catering for learners in grade R to grade 12. The books were given to them for free.

“I also helped with homework at my home, until I moved the learning area to our community hall in 2020.”

Nofingxana is passionate about education and books. Every January, she provides two quire notebooks for  needy primary school pupils in the area.

“I also provide cut-out newspapers, magazines, catalogues, exam pads, rulers and pencils for homes that are in need.”

She said her passion was to groom youngsters and provide them with the resources they lacked.

Every year, on June 16, she hosts talks for young people, encouraging them to discuss issues affecting the youth. 

“I have also started a netball team to curb drugs and substance abuse [among] young people.

“Seeing an opportunity to use the hall, I invite people and professional art practitioners from town to teach the children basic visual arts and drawing.

“Two students who attended are now making a living with the little knowledge that was passed on during those classes,” she said.

In a first for the area, she organised and hosted recruitment officers from the SA National Defence Force in February last year to showcase career opportunities in the military.  

Pupils from surrounding high schools were invited to attend.

Nofingxana motivates grade 12 pupils to apply for places at tertiary institutions in good time, and shares information about bursaries, while also giving pupils study guides.

I serve in several committees in the community for the upliftment of society at large,” she said.

“I always say it starts from one happy family to build a happy nation, and I believe that.

“I work closely with our community schools to help them with resources, including learner or teacher support materials, that I come across.

“I have middle-aged working people who assist with moral regeneration projects.

“Those people are all interested in building this village and making it a place where the young are well groomed,” Nofingxana said.

Her nominator, Thandazani Nofingxana, said: “During the first lockdown, she approached the local shop owner to sponsor bread for children, while she cooked soup for them because they were bored and idle as they were not going to school.

“The work that Phelisa is doing, with the little she has, inspires us as we know she does it out of love and passion, though she is unemployed.

“She organises events for the children with the help of some community members to see them through and succeed in life,” he said.

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