Zwide community keeps Madiba’s spirit alive

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The community of Zwide in Port Elizabeth has shown the true spirit of ubuntu in keeping the spirit of former President Nelson Mandela month alive. They have put their money where their mouths are and pulled together to revamp the house of a struggling resident.

Heading President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call “Thuma mina“, the community at Zwide are revamping and restoring the home of Bulelani Stemele. He was brutally attacked in 2008 on his way to work, leaving him suffering from severe memory loss.

Since the attack, the 34-year-old man has been unemployed and struggling. His home has been without running water and electricity for more than 15 years.

“He sleeps in his house without electricity every night. He has no water, in order for him to get water he goes to neighbouring houses for water. It is hard for him – he also has no food and asks people for food,” says a resident, Nombulelo Magqogqo.

The help by those who care has left him speechless.


“I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how I feel,” says Stemela.

From once earning a salary to now living on the mercy of others, his life has changed drastically. But neighbours in his community have shown him not to give up, through their generous acts of kindness.

The gesture will not be a once off act of giving. The tight knit community wants to ensure that Stemele gets continuous assistance to once again live a life of dignity.

“We want to request social development to refer him to a psychologist to establish whether he can work or not. If he cannot work there must be a recommendation that he must get a disability grant for survival,” says ward councilor, Xola Tyali.

The community is also trying to track down his family members.

Their aim now is to show Stemele that there are people who he can turn to when he is in need of help.