A visit to Ntabathemba Village, Queenstown

Visits to organisations we support in the Eastern Cape are always insightful and full of surprises, lessons and laughs as you never know what you will see along the way and we are never disappointed. A recent visit to Othandweni in the Ntabathemba Village outside Queenstown was yet again a wonderful experience where we got to meet more than 40 people who are now receiving monthly stipends through Othandweni’s hard work in securing a contract through the Extended Public Works Programme. They all sang the praises of the leader, Thandokazi for everything she does for them in ensuring that they too can benefit albeit for short contracts at a time.

Thando and her colleague were dressed to the nine’s especially for our visit

Thando and her colleague were dressed to the nine’s especially for our visit

We stood and watched this old lady gathering wood for a little while and were wondering where the wood was coming from as we had not seen any trees around – then it struck us – and herein lies the ingenuity – she is obviously old now and cannot go into the hills to gather wood any longer – so what she does is waits at the bottom of the river under the bridge where the flow is not strong and then gathers all the driftwood into a bundle which she then takes home which is not too far away. Guess you thinking that this is not all that ‘magic’ – but imagine if you were in your 70’s and had to do this chore every day for your household needs – I am not sure how long I would be able to do this – aside from the tedious task – she also puts her life at risk everyday as at any time she could be attacked and no- one would even hear her cries for help in the hills – this way it is safer for her too!!

Lady Gathering Wood