Selfless Avoca Hills man knows what it’s like to be poor and hungry

Dumile Magaqa.

Dumile Magaqa.

Published Apr 14, 2024

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Durban — This week’s unsung hero is Dumile Magaqa, a selfless Durban man who feeds the hungry because he knows what is to go to bed hungry. Magaqa, 30, from Khabazela village in Avoca Hills, founded the non-profit organisation (NPO), Mission Thando Khabazela Soup Kitchen in 2016.

The aim of the NPO is to help the underprivileged through a feeding scheme that runs from Monday to Friday. The organisation also has a skills development programme which teaches community members how to sew.

“The feeding scheme in my area closed and this had a negative impact on people, so I decided to fill the gap.

“I was raised by my grandmother in a poor home, so I knew what it felt like to be in their shoes,” he said.

The team is made up of three other members: Lerato Lebona, the secretary; Bongekile Ngidi, the deputy secretary; and Thabisile Cele, the office administrator.

They rely largely on volunteers from the community.

The organisation is self-funded.

“We do not ask for assistance in the form of money, but rather items that will contribute to making our mission possible, such as gas and vegetables for cooking. Everyone who assists us does it out of love,” said Magaqa.

He said most of the challenges they had stemmed from the recipients of the aid themselves who, at times, refused to accept that there were not enough resources to meet the needs of every individual.

Magaqa described his upbringing as unpleasant, marred by struggle and poverty: “I know what it is like to grow up without having access to everything that you need. The way I grew up has taught me to be grateful and to share everything that I have.”

He said he drew strength from other organisations and from seeing the work they did in their communities.

“I want to empower the adults so that they will be able to work and become self-reliant. I hope I am able to achieve that someday soon,” he said.

Volunteer Zinhle Nzimande said the NPO had been a lifeline.

“I am a single parent with five children. The organisation assists me with food and stationery for the children. I hope they grow from strength to strength,” she said.

Sunday Tribune

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