Durban — After developing a kidney infection from using tissue paper as sanitary pads for years, Zamangwane Khanyile, 28, from Adams Mission, is on a mission to get every girl sanitary pads in KwaZulu-Natal.
Khanyile, known as “Mam Sodolobha” in the area because of her helpful and motherly nature, wears many hats but prioritises her sanitary pad initiative.
“I love helping people. I am a singer, radio presenter, event organiser and programme director for events,” she said.
Khanyile said she had decided to “join a good cause” after she developed a kidney infection when she was 25.
“I could not urinate without feeling pain in my abdomen. I could not walk properly just because of the pain.
“After visiting the local clinic, they gave me a referral letter to the hospital. That is where they ran tests and I was diagnosed with a kidney infection. They told me the fact that I had been using tissue paper as sanitary pads throughout my teens led to the infection.”
Khanyile said she was one of the “lucky few” whose infection could be treated. She took antibiotics and drank lots of water.
She said after treatment, she had difficulty getting sanitary towels because she and her mother had been unemployed.
“I spoke out at church, and my congregation contributed to providing me with sanitary pads until the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.”
Khanyile then decided to help girls in the community. She chose Ngwenya Msomi Primary School in Ngqutshini as her first project because the girls were not receiving sanitary pads from any organisation.
In her most recent outreach programme, she experienced what she calls one of her most humbling human experiences – seeing many people and organisations unite with a common goal of giving, driven by the spirit of Ubuntu and “the understanding that it takes a village to raise a child”.
She has taken her initiative further and with the assistance of Spec-Savers Galleria Mall, has helped learners with free eye tests and glasses.
Khanyile said she had not encountered many challenges because she had help from her loved ones, who were eager to assist in making the outreach programme a success.
Her mother has been her biggest inspiration.
“I was raised by a single mother who is always there for me to support me, a mother who always prayed for me, encouraged me towards my dreams, and she never gave up in life; even through adversity, she still stands.”
Khanyile said she would motivate the youth by urging them not to give up on their dreams. She said if you failed, you should get up and try again.
“Even if your were raised by single parent, that should not stop you from chasing your dreams. Don’t make an excuse about your future. You will never discover who you were meant to be if you use another person to find yourself.”
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