Thokozile Mbona, Thandeka’s mom, realizes a dream I feel sure every mother nurtures; for her children to fly beyond her wildest imagining towards a life full of opportunity and hope. A life way better than the one she experienced and endured, most especially during the oppressive times of Apartheid in South Africa.
I have visited the Mbona family, a number of times, at their home in the beautiful rural area of Vulindlela. They live on a hill with glorious views out over the endless valleys. It’s always a delight to take special visitors to meet Thokozile.
I write about the time I took Ukulapha’s first two interns, Addy and Nasra, to visit.
Thokozile makes her way home where her daughters had cooked us a delicious meal. Our little girls Ayanda, Alwande and Oyama accompanied us, never to miss a new experience!
Back home we all chat about the family, her late dad, Zibuse, who meant the world to her and passed away way too young when Thandeka was in her pivotal grade 12 high school year. She was devastated. Her mom struggled on, working hard to raise her family.
Here is the handsome Zibuse and the sweet couple on their wedding day.
As I shared in the last article titled; ‘A fine line between doing nothing and changing everything’; Thandeka, now in her early 30’s, has overcome many hurdles and climbed many mountains.
A hugely significant part of her life is martial arts; she has won many awards, as you can see from the display in her mom’s living room.
Thandeka is the first female KYU Brown Belt currently going through her Black Belt training. She is a provincial champ, women’s middle weight division. She has been very involved; being the Deputy President in Karate Umgungundlovu Region for two years and under 20 Head Coach for two years, and her team won Silver last year at the games! Thandeka is also an avid runner and never misses a race.
She leads a very busy life, working full time at the Durban University of Technology; co-ordinating the unit responsible for internal and external stakeholders, overseeing administrative duties and offering support to lecturers and students—student recruitment, facilitating and making recommendations for lecturer appointments and being a superb mentor to so many students.
She has accomplished her undergraduate studies completing a B.Tech in Public Management, for which her mom and Thandeka are really proud.
Thandeka serves as the chair of the Ukulapha board and is very involved in our work at Slangspruit Primary School. She has been and continues to be a mentor to me, a person of integrity and honesty, we share rich and meaningful conversation which contributes, significantly, to my ongoing learning.
Ukulapha was thrilled to bring Thandeka to Canada in September 2013 for 4 weeks. Jointly, we made many presentations about Ukulapha and our work with Slangspruit Primary School. She was the guest speaker at our large fundraising event and did an amazing job, people were very absorbed and enlightened by her story.
She’d hardly arrived in Victoria when she, along with our very first international practicum student from the University of Victoria, Natasha, ran the Victoria marathon! This set the pace for a busy and productive time together.
She was kept busy visiting our many supporters, however, and most importantly and especially Victoria resident Jane Owens, who is the angel who sponsored Thandeka’s undergraduate education and ongoing studies, this vibrant young South African woman who chooses:
‘A fine line between doing nothing and changing everything’