THOBANI Noqoli is one of nine children and grew up in his Fountain Avenue home in the Walmer Township surrounded by uncles, aunts, cousins and siblings.
Now, 35, he lives with his 17-year- old sister, Amanda, around the corner from where he grew up and does not intend on leaving the township any time soon.
For the DA PR councillor, the township is his extended family and he is a familiar face around the streets of Gqebera where he is greeted with a friendly wave wherever he goes.
The Noqoli’s are not only known for being a big family, but also being big into sports and music.
Thobani’s grandfather, the late Gillman Noqoli, was one of the first black Springboks and a regular in both the Eastern Province and Springbok teams between 1950 and 1956.
He was a member of the Walmer Wales Rugby Club.
Gillman, who fathered 16 children, was a dynamic wing who acquired the nickname “krwala”. One of Thobani’s brothers, Xolani, was the first person from the township to play for a professional soccer team called the Warriors.
He said his grandfather used to compose songs and also tap danced.
“My family enjoys singing and we gather at Christmas time to sing carols.”
Thobani attended John Masiza Primary School and matriculated at Walmer High. He studied ceramic design at the University of Port Elizabeth and finished one year of human resources, but could not carry on because of finances.
Before starting his political career with the DA, Thobani “tested the waters” with various vocations including running township tours.
He also donated his time to a Walmer Township youth project and formed a soccer team in 1998 called the Sebastian Boys.
In 2009 Thobani became interested in politics and soon joined the DA. But he did not have an easy life .before he got to where he is.
Amanda, a Walmer High pupil, has followed the family’s musical tradition by being involved with the choir at school and plans on studying drama and music after matric.
Thobani has earned respect from the rest of his family for his achievements and they are the reason he has not left the township just yet.