By Buziwe Nocuze
Ever since he lost the use of his legs, Ncedo Bhongoza from Philippi Browns Farm in Cape Town has dedicated his life to changing the lives of young people in his community.
Ncedo, who has been a wheelchair user since he was shot during a robbery in 2016, said he decided he wanted to make a difference after his own life-changing incident.
He formed the Phakama Youth group, where he now teaches 24 youngsters aged 8 to 17 years about the worlds of dance, music and poetry.
Although it’s less exciting, he remarks, he will also help them finish their homework every once in a while.
“The incident showed me how dangerous the area is. I knew I had to do something to save young people from getting involved in crime,” Ncedo said.
“Sharing my story with them healed me while I saved some from being involved in crime. They see how crime ruins people’s lives.”
Ncedo said everyone is going through a lot and the only way to overcome challenges is by being there for each other.
He told Scrolla.Africa if he had not decided to get involved with the young people he would have been eaten up by depression.
“I stressed a lot about losing my ability to walk. I may have saved their lives, but they saved mine too,” he said.
“Young people need all the help and attention they can get. We have drugs everywhere, teenage pregnancy, and young people need someone to listen to and advise them. We must invest in them for a better future for all of us.”
He said he is helping 24 kids but he can still do more.
“Helping them with school work motivates them and they want to become better people.”
A member of the group, Mile Kama, said Ncedo has saved them from drug abuse, falling pregnant and turning to crime.
“Our peers are all over the place. Some have dropped out of school, some are pregnant, and some are using drugs. If it wasn’t for the group, maybe one of us could’ve been the victim of all the above.”
Parent Nosipho Mkhontwana thanked Ncedo and other members for what they are doing.
“Whatever they are doing there, they must continue because our kids are safe there. Our kids’ behaviour and school performance have changed since they joined the group. As parents, we are grateful,” she said.
Pictured above: Ncedo Bhongoza with his Phakama Youth group members in Philippi Browns Farm, Cape Town.
Image source: Supplied