CAPE TOWN – The Covid-19 pandemic is evoking the true spirit of Ubuntu in South Africa, a quality that is based on compassion and caring for one another.
Lulu Nongogo, an entrepreneur from Gugulethu and founder of Lulwazi Lwethu, made and distributed cloth masks for her community.
Nongogo founded a non-profit organisation called Lulwazi Lwethu in 2015, which provides support for the youth in her community in obtaining employment as well as an accredited course called Corporate Readiness.
She realised her calling after she pursued two qualifications from the University of Western Cape (UWC) and Varsity College, worked in the corporate world, got retrenched and then headhunted.
Nongogo found that her true purpose in life was to empower and help the development of disadvantaged youth, and by 2019 has managed to secure 2000 jobs for young people in Cape Town through her organisation.
“I witnessed the youth roaming the streets, with no direction in their lives and some of them belonged to gangs,” Nongogo said.
“The thought of helping the students excited me because they were eager to hone their skills and give back to their communities one day. To me, helping a student means that I am helping an entire family, which genuinely brings me joy” she added.
It is this passion that was ignited once more in the wake of Covid-19.
Nongogo views the lack of knowledge regarding the seriousness of the pandemic which results in perceived negligence in her community. She could not stand idly by and decided to act and educate instead. And by taking into account the socio-economic issues that she is all too familiar with in Gugulethu and other communities like it, she made cloth masks and targeted local clinics to distribute to their patients free of charge.
The non-profit organisation joined forces with Digital Express in this venture to donate 3000 masks as part of the prevention and awareness campaign in disadvantaged communities in Cape Town.
Nongogo went on to say; “most people are not negligent, but they don’t know, so we are not just issuing masks, what we’re doing is educating them about it. The reason being, imagine people who can’t afford a loaf of bread of R18, how will they afford to buy a mask? So we decided, let’s do the fabric masks that you can wash on a daily basis”.
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