Nikiwe Nyamakazi (47) is a strong religious woman, who is raising her two children on her own. She is a member of the local Methodist Church. Nikiwe did her schooling in the townships around Port Elizabeth. She completed her education at Kamvelihle Adult School in Port Elizabeth and went on to work for the department of welfare as a youth caregiver. Nikiwe has dedicated her entire life to the upliftment of her people. She resigned from work to offer her time and house for the benefit of her people. She fights for the dignity and rights of the poor, sick and disenfranchized.
In the 1980s Nikiwe saw the need to open a pre-school for the underprivileged. This introduced her to the challenges that the people in her community have to face. Nikiwe became involved in her community from an early age. She understands the tremendous problems the youth has to face and has realized that to assist them requires a huge commitment from her and others who have a role to play. Nikiwe also started a hospice to care for those dying of Aids, whose families could not afford to take care of them. She also regularly makes house visits to patients that are cared for by family members. She provides regular counseling and debriefing sessions to those affected and infected by the disease. Her programs do not have a sponsor but depend on generous donations from members of the community and occasional assistance from the local business sector. The community has taken pride in, and ownership of, these programs and facilities. There is little security provided and programs rely on the vigilance of the community for surety. Nikiwe relies on the generosity of local undertakers and business to bury patients whose families cannot afford to bury them.
Ithemba Youth Group