Südafrika: Cordelia Nozukile Tshaka

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. It is that discipline that I use not only as a nurse but as God’s child.

— Cordelia Nozukile Tshaka

Cordelia Tshaka was born 1951 in Eastern Cape, South Africa. She holds a diploma in public health nursing and is a registered nurse and midwife. She worked in hospitals before working in community health clinics. Throughout the 1980s running NGOs was difficult but Cordelia and her colleagues persevered. They worked during the violent Crossroads Uprising; relief came in the early 1990s when South Africa held democratic elections. In the late 1990s Cordelia participated in forming Zanempilo, an amalgamation of health NGOs, and initiated Makukhanye, an HIV/Aids program in the Western Cape.

Cordelia Tshaka is involved in a community advocacy initiative to bring health to local communities and change people’s attitudes towards HIV/Aids patients. She trains community health workers (Chws) in basic nursing. Cordelia works with Chws in the Makukhanye HIV/Aids program. Since the health services cannot handle all HIV/Aids cases, programs like the Makukhanye Health Promotion Project fill this gap. Women concerned by the inadequate assistance provided by formal health service providers initiated such programs. The South African Christian Leadership Assembly and Zanempilo are health NGOs in which active community participation is integral. They use the World Health Organization’s campaign “Health For All” to address the needs of the communities. Chws are elected by the communities as health agents to serve the areas closest to them. They are trained in home nursing and care of minor ailments. Care giving includes washing, feeding and counseling patients who are unable to go to a hospice or have returned home. Chws are also trained in record keeping, report writing and networking. Cordelia’s experience in community-based health care and the community’s faith in her work are responsible for the continued success of these programs.

Makukhanye Health Promotion