Nomsa Tshingowe gets a breath of fresh air in Cape Town. Photo supplied.
The world continues to open up with great promises of light, motivation and encouragement for a cancer activist, Nomsa Tshingowe. She has just come back from the SA Parliament in Cape Town where she attended the budget address sitting on 9 July.
As the founding director of the non-profit-organisation Cancer 0 Thirty 5 Project, Nomsa was among the many youths across the country who were invited by the Deputy Minister of Women, Youths and Persons Living with disabilities, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize.
“I was part of the esteemed guests at Parliament, because the department wanted to celebrate youths who are contributing positively in their communities,” Nomsa said. “Women, the youth and persons living with disabilities were all represented. Most importantly, our role was to observe the budget speech debate and what the department had to offer, so that all our project programmes would also be informed of the departmental services.”
She stated that she had not thought that her work was being noticed even at national level. This kind of recognition reminded her that she was on the right track with her organisation.
“It taught me that one can do or be anything they want as long as they do not stop believing,” she said. “When it is meant to be, it will be. You don't have to be anyone else, remain authentic.”
Nomsa would get messages from people trying to dissuade her from talking about cancer or posting her pictures on social media. “I fail to understand what they say because they are the very people who do not even have cancer knowledge,” she said. “For me, their criticism encourages me to talk more about cancer because it means they lack cancer knowledge. Even the department got to know me via my messages on Facebook and Twitter and then followed my actual activities within the communities.”
She said it was of utmost importance that youths were invited to parliament because most of the social and political issues discussed directly affected them. “With such a gathering, youths acquire knowledge on the programmes that the department supports,” she said. “As the youth, we are not looking for handouts, but support and recognition for the kind of good works we do within the communities. Most importantly, we also seek an open door to opportunities to contribute to the growth of the economy and to attain economic independence.”
She stated that she was pleased when the minister emphasised the department's move to partner with the private sector and community-based organisations to render services to the communities. “Most of the value-adding organisations or projects fade due to a lack of resources or funding,” Nomsa said. “If the department is willing to come forward to enter into partnership with us, then this is a giant step forward.”
Date:21 July 2019 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.