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Community profile: Ziggy

By December 9, 2013October 9th, 2023No Comments

By: Gregoire Rouan

Ziggy Buthelezi is the community relations officer and community project coordinator for African Impact at Thanda Private Game Reserve in rural South Africa. He is 28 and was born in Ezimbidleni community in nearby Hluhluwe, which means he is part of the local Zulu Tribe, and has been working alongside us and our partners at African Impact – Thanda for over a year. Ziggy is my colleague and is very precious to me, as he helps me to work with the communities on our focal projects. This is why I interviewed him – to show you what great value he adds to the charity.

In the Mange and Etshaneni communities everybody knows Ziggy. After studying paper technology, he decided to start a volunteering program in Mandini with Love Life, a South African HIV prevention organisation. He started his volunteering experience as a health and sex education volunteer and later became a sports coordinator in 2005. Ziggy knew that he wanted to help people from his community to fight against HIV. He wanted to educate, enrich and empower; and The Happy Africa Foundation commitment was also the same.

At the end of his three years of experience, Ziggy started a new project dedicated to the young people in his community, Rise’n Fly. The education level is low in the area, the HIV rate is about 75%, and the unemployment rate is about 80%. Rise’n Fly tries to improve the education of young people as well as helping them to get a job by showing them how to write a CV and cover letter. Ziggy’s long term goal is to build a Youth Center in the community which will provide a safe and secure place for education, with computers, a lecture room, and any equipment that could help the young generation. Ziggy thinks that the best way to fight HIV is education, and that it is most important to be able to protect the young generation.

With the community volunteers, they support the crèches; run the reading club for the Gogos (old women) and the Youth Club. The Youth club, with 130 children each Tuesday, is a good way to improve education in the area. The children will learn about health, big 5 animals, conservation.

Ziggy is also my local support in the communities. As the charity intern, part of my job is to help run the projects on the ground and he is helping me with this around Thanda Game Reserve. Without his contribution, it will be hard to set up meetings, and go forward.

To all the work you are doing, to the impact you are making around Thanda in the communities, thank you Ziggy!