Her success a testimony to Ubuntu's help

FOR Nozibele Qamngana it was like coming home when she started working at Ubuntu Education Fund this month. She had been involved with the non-profit organisation Ubuntu in Zwide ever since it started 15 years ago, where she received health, educational and social support as she grew up.

At just 23-years-old, her life had come full circle when she started working as the external relations manager at Ubuntu Education Fund this month.

"I am living testimony of what Ubuntu is all about – it is creating hope. I was in the same situation 10 to 15 years ago that many people who come here today are – with no food at home and no future prospects. I started using the Ubuntu library and computer centre when I was in Sivuyiseni Primary School in Kwamagxaki. Today, I graduated and found a good job," Qamngana said.

When she was only 12 years old, Qamngana took part in a two-week cultural exchange programme in the United States with the Ubuntu Education Fund.

After she matriculated from Harvest Christian School, Ubuntu paid for her studies at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where she graduated with a national diploma in marketing and a B-Tech degree.

She started working at Continental Tyre South Africa in 2010 in the events department, where her talents were soon noticed and she was given the opportunity to go to Germany for a year with the company to work on an exchange programme. On her return, Qamngana worked in the market research department at the company.

"The great thing about Ubuntu was that I did not have to pay back the centre for my studies.

"They just give to the community when they deem it necessary. After my few years in the private sector I realised what I wanted to do and what was important to me.

"I want to give back and create hope. When growing up under disadvantaged circumstances, people often overlook their own needs in finding a job that makes them happy," Qamngana said.

In her new position at the Ubuntu Education Fund, Nozi, as she's known by the staff at the busy Zwide community centre, will be acting as external communication liaison with the media and donors.

"I am basically the glue between the organisations and will be involved with marketing, advertising and events coordination. Even though we are a non-profit organisation, we still treat it like a business," Qamngana said.

The centre officially opened in 2010 but Ubuntu will this year be celebrating 15 years of changing lives in the Bay's townships with education, social and health services.

"It really is an exciting time to come back. We have two annual galas planned in the US and UK and lots of celebrations locally," Qamngana said.

Navigating overseas film crews, Qamngana is a natural in her new position and just giggles when The Herald photographer Brian Witbooi remarks he won't be surprised if she one day becomes the country's first female president. Her future plan, for now, is to one day work at the United Nations.