By KEREN BANZA
Nineteen years ago in Settlers Hospital, a nurse named a baby girl Musa, meaning peace. Musa Ncwadi has spent her whole life in Makhanda. Now, through the power of education, she is a bridge that unites this divided community.
In a classroom at Samuel Ntsiko Primary School, eager eyes slowly scanned the slick cover of a book. Her little hands traced out the title: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “She taught me how to read using that book,” Ncwadi says of a student teacher from Rhodes University. “The day she left, she gave it to me.”
That student teacher planted the seed that would grow into Ncwadi’s love for education. “I wanted to be a teacher like her; I wanted to be an inspiration to others.” Through the influence of her father and being part of several Rhodes Community Engagement programmes such as 9/10th Mentoring and Vulindlela, she chose to grow her roots at Rhodes University. Musa is currently a first-year student studying for a Bachelor of Education.
Every morning she takes a taxi from her home in Vukani to campus. “I have lived around the location areas all my life, so this is the first I have spent a lot of time on this side of town,” she says. After a busy day of lectures and practicals, she camps at a computer in the Education Department, diving through piles of work. At around 7 pm, she catches the Oppidan Bus home. “There is no Wi-Fi at home,” she explains. “You don’t know when Eskom is going to pull the plug. There are also too many distractions.”
Many factors contribute to the divide in Makhanda. Ncwadi highlights the lack of development and proper service delivery in the townships. “I want to teach in the Foundation Phase. We need to engage with the youth on issues affecting our town.”
Her goal is to help young Makhanda people not view the divide and other problems here as the norm. Instead, Ncwadi wants to educate and inspire them so they get into spaces where they can work towards change together. She wants to help build more bridges that will unite Makhanda. She wants to bring peace.