Borrowing John Bunyan’s profound words, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you!” Muzi Nduku, 30, has dedicated his entire life into serving and uplifting his village through his organisation. FunDza caught up with him to find out what encourages him to give to people more than he takes.
Ndibulele Sotondoshe: Who is Muzi?
Muzi Nduku: I’m from Vuyisile village, just outside of Bizana, Eastern Cape. I care deeply about my community, and for most of my adult life I have worked to help improve the life outcomes of young people in my community, assisting and contributing whenever possible. In doing this, I have gained significant experience as an activist and educator in my community. My involvement in the programmes unleashed a lot of potential within me, which has ignited me to view myself, my life, my future and my world and community from a whole new perspective.
NS: What was it like growing up in Vuyisile?
MN: I sometimes went to school barefooted and with no lunch. Growing up in a disadvantaged village, I did not have the right facilities and centres to hone and harness life skills. I was multi-talented but at home there was no one to motivate me, except my mom who was also uneducated. I never had a chance to study at home from Grade 1-9 because after school I would look after my father and grandfather’s livestock. A friend of mine asked me to assist his soccer club and I agreed because I knew I would get food there.
NS: What are you currently doing career-wise or projects that you’re involved in?
MN: I’m currently involved in MYD outdoor and indoor festival. The purpose of the event is to have an inter-generational dialogue session with the elderly, transforming their knowledge of our culture and customs to the youth, and where the youth will speak of the modernization of our society and how our cultural norms have evolved, as culture evolves with time. Another programme is ‘The Leader in Me’ which seeks to host youth leadership camps where young people will be gathered together and receive information and skills from professionals. We’re also organising a cycling, run and fashion show to honour Mama Winnie Mandela.
NS: When did your passion for community development begin?
MN: It began in Grade 6 when the Department of Education introduced a programme called “No Apologies” in Life Orientation. It educated us about life-style, character building and social issues affecting us the youth and our communities at large. It lit a fire inside me by giving me a new perspective on my community and its relationship to the world, it helped me to develop a new vision of myself and my future. Since then I have been driven by an unapologetic desire to be a servant leader.
NS: Tell us more about MYD?
MN: ‘Muzi Nduku Youth Development’ is an organisation of camaraderie, positive change and development of people, serving the community through many functional activities predominantly performing arts, sport, tourism, cycling club, human rights, educational programmes, grass roots sports and recreation. With the many social economic predicaments we are challenged with in our society, the establishment of MuziNduku Youth Development stems from a passion and unwavering desire to impact and serve lives positively.
NS: How do you want Muzi to be remembered?
MN: I would like to be remembered as a gender-based violence activist who loved and protected women and children, a nation builder, a social cohesion and sport activist. Also as a salt of the earth and light of the world. Someone who lived for a purpose not for popularity and who sacrificed to put a smile to those in need. Last but not, as someone who’s full of energy, friendly and approachable and supportive.
NS: How do you think your Activate training has helped shape who you are now?
MN: Activate gave me the leadership and project management skills that I am using to run my organization. I have a sustainable long term relationship with them. I learnt and adhered to the myriad socio-economic issues in our country particularly those affecting the youth, as well as creating a platform for the youth to be proud positive ambassadors of our country pioneering it forward through social cohesion.
NS: What do you regard as your best achievement so far?
MN: I’m so overwhelmed to see the youth I mentored achieving their goals. Some are now educators, scientists, social workers and some are part of my performing arts programme. I was also honoured to be awarded for contribution towards Youth Development in the Republic of South Africa #25 years of Democracy: Celebrating Youth Activism.
NS: Any last words?
MN: Starve your destructions and feed your focus and remember, the difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do. Success is sweet but its secret is sour.
If you enjoyed this, read about a social worker helping vulnerable children here
Tell us: Who inspires you in your community?