By LINDA MKAZA
I left Grahamstown as a student and returned to Makhanda as a lecturer and academic editor. How things change!
It’s my first month back in Makhanda – and what a busy one it has been. Now that I have settled down from the interprovincial move and my new role in Makhanda, I can finally introduce myself to you, our readers.
Ndingubani? Who am I?
According to my clan, I am uMamBhele, uMatshaba, and I was born in the village of KwaNomadolo eDikeni or Gilton in Alice, as it is referred to in English, which is one of the villages along the Tyhume River. But I was raised mainly in the town of Kariega (once Uitenhage).
My first experience of Makhanda was when my mother, a nurse at Settlers Hospital, enrolled my brother and me at Kingswood College in 1994, where I repeated Grade 1 as I could not understand English. One instance that indicated that I had a language barrier was when my Grade 1 teacher asked the class about their favourite food, and hotdogs were on the list. The thought of pets getting heated up and eaten was incomprehensible to me.
My brother and I spent two years in the town before moving schools and eventually spending the rest of our school career in Kariega, where my grandmother (may her soul rest in peace) would be my primary caregiver.
It wouldn’t be until 2006 that I would return to Makhanda to begin and complete a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Drama and English Literature – what a long way that child in 1994 had journeyed! After completing my undergrad degree, I decided to pursue a career in education. While not the initial plan, it was to be ‘the’ plan. According to the Word, we make plans, but God directs our path (Proverbs 16:9).
In 2010 and through His guidance, I decided to head to Cape Town, where I would build my career in education and use my skills, particularly Drama, to engage with youth from currently disadvantaged communities hoping that it would somehow make a difference in their lives.
After a few years of teaching, I lectured at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) from 2014 until June this year. While at CPUT, I completed my Honours and Master’s degrees from the University of the Western Cape. Both my career and studies would eventually lead me back to Makhanda.
Through my teaching and research in digital storytelling, I can now merge the practice and theory as I attempt to engage and collaborate with the community of Makhanda.
In my role as a Grocott’s editor with responsibility for digital media engagement, I hope I can make a worthwhile contribution to you, the citizens of Makhanda. I look forward to getting to know the community and, more importantly, working to give voice to the marginalised. I hope we can collaborate in a multilingual, multimodal way where individuals can tell their stories through their own voices and work towards bettering our Makhanda.