Helping girls to fly on eagles’ wings

The Ukhozi Girls’ Organisation seems fittingly named given that its founder plans on making it soar like an eagle, as the Zulu “ukhozi” is known in English.

Ukhozi held a girls’ seminar at Sinenjongo High School on Saturday June 17, part of Nqobizitha Hobane’s vision to get girls helping and supporting each other, sharing their ideas and dreams.

“The main aim for this seminar is to integrate different girls from different schools and empower them,” says Ukhozi’s founder.

It was while Ms Hobane was working at an orphanage in Phoenix that the beginnings of Ukhozi started to take shape.

“I am so passionate about helping others. I noticed that the people who brought kids to this orphanage were teenage mothers and I began to question myself as to how I can do my bit to help. I thought to myself, I will speak to these young mothers. They have different stories. Some of them have mothers who are addicted to drugs and some of their mothers are addicted to alcohol. Some of these teenage mothers came from abusive relationships.”

She wanted to teach these girls that they did not have to depend on others to take care of themselves.

“I do this because it’s a passion of mine. Seeing a girl child achieving her goals is why we do it,” she says.

Some of the girls have joined the organisation because it is like a safe haven for them and they can encourage each other as girls to be the best they can be.

Maliviwe Ndyalvane, a 17-year-old Grade 12 pupil at Sinenjongo says, “The reason I joined the organisation is because it keeps us away from the streets and places that are not safe. We feel free in this organisation and we have built something like a family.

“I used to lack in confidence, but my self-esteem has taken a huge boost. I am not afraid to speak in front of crowds anymore. All thanks to Ukhozi.”

Amanda Kawana is a first-year fashion student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and she says she couldn’t speak about her feelings with her mom when she was growing up.

“The minute I heard that there is a girl’s club, I was there! I thought I’d just get there, speak and I’ll just get advice. But I got much more than I bargained for. I received love, a space where I could share my goals, dreams and values of life. I learnt that I should dream big.”

The principal of Sinenjongo High School, Khuselwa Nopote, says the seminar was very motivating.

“I didn’t expect this, but I am so happy because even some of my own kids from this school have benefited. I like the fact that the girls have gained confidence. These types of organisations help the kids because I have seen that these girls are even doing better academically. They need these organisations to teach them how to act and how to treat others around them. I have also learned a thing or two from today’s event.”