In Matavhela and Mafukani about 40 kms outside Thohoyandou, the spirit of ubuntu permeates the streets and villagers daily reach out to each other, especially families in need of clothing and food.
But on the recent Mandela Day, residents went all out.
Maria Mukununde, 40, is self-employed and sews clothes. Last month, Mandela Day spurred her to do something great.
“The other villagers and I spoke about how we could help,” she told OurHealth. “We saw a chance to help our fellow villagers in their time of need. “
“I sat down and thought very hard about what I could do for at least three people in need and I came up with an idea of sewing some jackets for them as winter is still here,” she explained.
“I managed to sew six warm jackets, three for children and three for adults,” Mukununde added. “It was such a great moment to hand them over to their new owners.”
Khangwelo Dimbanye, 19, received one of Mukununde’s jackets.
“I was very happy to have received a very beautiful and warm jacket from (Maria),” said Dimbanye, who is living with HIV and says he often gets sick during winter
“I catch flu easily as my body,” she told OurHealth. “If I’m in a cold place, I start sneezing immediately and then the flu follows shortly after.”
“She really has helped me as I have no parents to pay for my clothing, but the people around the community do help,” Khangwelo said.
Tshinakaho Madzida, 65, received blankets and food as part of villagers’ efforts.
“My children have seem to forgotten me after they got married,” said Madzida, who lives alone and is a diabetic. “It is by the grace of God that I share a village with these women who care so much for everyone.”
“They spent a long time with me here and I was very happy to host them,” said the pensioner. “I used to sleep with no blankets some previous winters, but now I am happy I am going to keep warm.”
Joyce Munari bought groceries for two child-headed households orphaned when their parents died in a car accident while travelling together.
“I had to buy them food because it is what they needed most,” said Munari, who said the community came together 365 days a year to buy food and clothes for families, pay school fees or to collect and deliver medication for elderly patients.
“We are united as one in such a way that one’s pain is everyone’s pain,” Mukununde said. “I wish for us to never look back and keep on working as hard as we do now to help each other.”