Monday, October 17, 2011

Rural Nquthu Struggles with Few Resources

Sthembiso Sithole

Schools have been built in Nquthu, but this doesn not mean
the community has access to other resources and information.
Growing up in Soweto I have come to understand that community meetings are taken seriously. These would often be held in the evenings or on weekends when people are back from work. At times they turn ugly if
the authorities don't listen to community leaders like it happened in the township's Chiawelo section when it turned violent earlier this year. Community members burnt down a section of a former councillor's house as she was blamed for high electricity tariffs.

During the recent September school and university holidays I visited the village of Nquthu in deep rural KwaZulu-Natal and much to my surprise the community here doesn't participate in meetings that can build them. I attended one meeting to discuss electricity tariffs and less than half the community was there.

I had assumed that many would be there as meetings are their only way of communicating with one another. Many are illiterate and those who can read and write have a lack of community newspapers and forced to read provincial papers, often coming from Durban or Pietermaritzburg.

While one would think water is a human right that everyone should have access to by now, it was one major point of concern that Nquthu residents have. The availability of water, or the lack there of, was another major issue during the meeting.

After the meeting I spoke to a few young people and they feel the youth is still overlooked in this traditional, patriarchal society. They say they often struggle to get their points across as young

On close inspection it appeared that the lack of resources is probably the cause of such poor attendance as councillors don't have resources to pass information about these meetings to those they represent. Community members also say they they don't know what's expected of them as this information isn't shared. What ends up happening is that councillors end up making decision as consultative processes are
difficult in this rural setting.


  1. This is so true, Nquthu is my home town I grew up there, In 2009 I visited some of the schools Primary and High School just to share information that It was not given to me while I was schooling. I was so suprice to hear that learners are still so much in need of information as much as I was hungry for it in 25yrs ago.I ended up giving information that I thought should have done by youth Advisory in NQuthu. Grade 12 learners they have no Idea that they have to apply with grade 11 report to (CAO) for tertiary education.They wait until they get trials reports. I asked them about whose advising them according to this informations they said is teachers( Teachers have too much on their plates).Some of them they said they only find out about youth advisory on once while there were taken to career choices at Umsinga WHY?. Ithink is where the problem is. The learners need to be taught before they choose their subjects end of grade 9 not in grade 12. Most parents in Nquthu are not educated but the are realible, respected hornest and willing to learn that is why they send their children to schools if those who are in a position of doing work can go to schools uplift, empower,motivate,encorage the Youth first. Then youth would talk to their parents about the importence of attending meetings.Also make sure that you understand the community you are going to meet do some reseach first.Be clear if the meeting is for educating them or the meeting is about telling them what to do, because they need to understand it and learn from this things it mostly comes as new things to them. They hate being taken advantage just because they not educated make sure you speak isizulu also send pumplets that writen in their languge. Talk to Izinduna they will tell you what to do in their own way not your way as an educated person.Listen to them and learn from them, then you will see more people comming in.Do you ever asked your self why most people do attend in meetings that has been called by Izinduna, and not to attend those meeting been called by people they never meet ? Badinga ukuthotshelwa endaweni yabo.

  2. jst dont b.liv this hau... have you ever spent a night there days and years... meetings are held now and thn but nothing is done to uplift the community how can u keep on attending meetings that wont make any difference...?eish who said that we are not educated, teachers organise career guidence expore evry year we are who we are today becauce they did their level best to provide us with information