It is said that “the future is in the hands of the youth, and a nation that fails to invest in its youth is domed”. Entokozweni is an outreach community initiative that challenges the above expression. It aims to alleviate poverty and improve the livelihood of the people living in Mamelodi.
Amon Mgidi, who is currently the HR manager at the Entokozweni Development Center, remembers the early years when the initiative was founded. “The Mamelodi International Assembly of God, founded the initiative in 2008, as the church was looking to reach out to the community and make a difference, intended for orphans and vulnerable children in our community. We have grown since our early days and through the years our programs have extended to youth and the elderly in our community”.
Meme, who is the advice desk officer works tirelessly, giving career advice, exposing the youth to vast opportunities available to them and encouraging the youth to equip themselves with the programs available at the centre, such as computer classes, fashion design and life skills. She describes her work as fulfilling and selfless love “when you understand that it’s not about you but giving yourself to others and helping them to make a positive change for themselves and those around them”, she said.
The centre also provides health education, to educate the community about a quality lifestyle and their health rights. I would describe Joyce Nkwana as Mmasechaba, mother of the nation. Her work extends beyond the gates of the centre as she continuously gives herself outside the centre even after her knockoff time. During lunch, you can see the elders talk openly to her about their health issues.
The bakery is in the hands of a 22-year-old George, who wakes up early in the morning to ensure that at 8:00 when the centre opens, his fresh baked bread is ready to be sold to the community. The low-cost bread sold for R8.00, has afforded many families to be able to buy bread. He says, he dreams of opening his own bakery one day. The centre has a feeding scheme which was founded in November 2017, and has since then been feeding over 100 Mamelodi residents on week days. The head chef Dumisane Kekae along with the help of volunteers in the community program ensure that both breakfast and lunch meals are readily available at the time of serving.
By: MEGAN SELLO