By Thandi Gova
Recently, CAST had the chance to hear from fifty-seven year old Rita Mkhize from Appelsbosch, who shared her story of transformation:
“One afternoon, I was sitting at home ‘bored’ as young people say and I saw ladies carrying parcels that looked the same. I asked where they were getting these parcels from and they referred me to the Appelsbosch Baptist Community Church and told me to ask for Nqobani Mkhize, CAST’s Appelsbosch Community Co-ordinator, who helped sign me up for a parcel which I started getting this year. I needed the food parcel after my husband died earlier this year. He was the only breadwinner in the house. Since my husband’s passing, I now rely on my 14-year-old grandson’s grant money of R380 ($29) from my late daughter who passed away in 2013.
The food parcel is enough for us because we are a family of two. I have also completed CAST’s Paradigm Shift Business Experience Course, and my grandson is part of the Friday Youth at Appelsbosch Baptist Community Church. Before joining CAST, I would just sit at home all day doing nothing, sometimes sleeping. I have taught myself a new skill of knitting, and I am still improving.”
Rita sits with a grey knitted toddler jersey which she started knitting at last month’s CAST food parcel ministry day. When complemented about the jersey, she smiles and says that you can tell it hasn’t been done by a professional.
“I am so happy I cannot explain it and I even have a structured sleeping time like normal people.”
Rita has learnt to meet with people and have conversations. “Angseyona inkomo edla yodwa” she says in isiZulu, meaning she is no longer someone who isolates herself.
“I go out and meet people and when I hear that there’s something happening at the church, I go to find out and learn.”
When asked how she learned to knit, she explained that one day Nqobani took out wool and knitting needles. He said that if anyone wants some, they should take it. Only one lady took some wool and a pair of knitting needles. At the end of the day when she was leaving, Rita asked Nqobani to give her some wool and she said that she would give it a try. Rita says she learned to knit by the grace of God. With a smile she says, “God knows when you are longing for something [to learn] and He just shows you how.”
Rita has many dreams, but her biggest dream is to learn how to sew. She has even gone the extra mile of buying a sewing machine but hasn’t had a constant or stable place where she could learn. Rita recently discovered that there is a lady in her community who could teach her. The only thing standing between Rita and that opportunity is the fact that she does not have any fabric material.
CAST believes in empowering community members to become entrepreneurs, using their God-given talents and abilities. If you would like to either mentor an entrepreneur like Rita, or provide resources such as fabric, please contact CAST at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 031 266 8830