Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
LAST week, UK-based organisation Intuba Trust commissioned a solar-powered water system to aid Mbuyazwe Cultural Village.
Nestled in the heart of the old suburb, the cultural facility received this aquatic boost meant to help it run self-sustainable projects to improve the livelihoods of Luveve residents and maintain the preservation of culture.
Last year, Luveve lamented the deaths of its residents from diarrhea after drinking contaminated water. To try to erase that memory in Luveve resident’s minds, culture met philanthropy.
It is against such a background that Intuba Trust, through its founder and president Raphael Makhiye Mthombeni who was also the guest of honour at the handover, landed a hand. Under the theme, “Labangane bami” (With my friends) Mthombeni represented Intuba Trust at the event that was attended by people of all ages.
For more than two decades, the facility has faced water problems to run its agricultural activities which led historian and custodian Bekezela Dube to outsource help from those in the diaspora.
The director of events, historian and lecturer Jerry Zondo gave a historical rendition of how Mbuyazwe Cultural Village came into existence.
“For a long time now, this facility has served as the home of arts in Luveve and it was saddening to see it slowly fading to obscurity owing to dilapidation of these huts. Someone needed to take it upon themselves to restore its former glory,” relayed Zondo.
The aforementioned sentiments were shared by Dube who even alluded to the facility helping children with their assignments.
“With the advent of Continuous Assessment Learning Activities enacted onto the curriculum, many children have found this facility as a rich source of cultural information to help them fulfil their academic duties,” outlined Dube.
“Water is life. Water will be a source of livelihood for us as many projects will be done in this place. As a resident of this place, I heard the plea for a clean source of water and together with my colleagues, outsourced funding to make all of this happen.
“In the diaspora, we always see development in terms of infrastructure and this gives us a challenge to give back to the community in whatever way possible. So, as the plea came from Mbuyazwe Cultural Village, we (Intuba Trust) saw it fit to use our influence in sourcing funds to drill a borehole for our people.
“We’ve been perennially haunted by water problems and we hope this will ease the burden. We have to use this gift wisely and make sure that we run projects that will help the facility finance itself,” commented Mthombeni.
Among some of the projects that are to emanate from the water project include fencing the village and making it a suitable tourist centre.
Also, through Intuba Trust, Mthombeni aspires to oversee the construction of onsite toilets, a restaurant that will focus on traditional cuisines and also a water kiosk that will sell purified bottled water to help the facility raise funds.
The solar-powered water system was dug 110m deep and with such a depth, Mthombeni believes running a fishery project through aqua ponds will be possible.
Led by Dube, attendees were then taken on a tour around the homestead and South-East of the huts lay what Mthombeni alluded to as a plaque that will forever remind them that they got water at the second time of asking.
In August, the Trust dug 105m to no avail as they did not find any water hence Mthombeni emphasised on the preservation of the site which, “should stand as a reminder to everyone that the journey was not easy but worthwhile.”
On a chilly day, hearts were warmed up as the audience enjoyed some song and dance from Umkhathi Theatre Works which gave a stellar performance that saw some people from the audience singing along and joining in the choreography.
In buoyant mood, attendants shared their sentiments on the kind gesture shown by one of their own.
“We are so short of words. This has been a long time coming and we’d like to thank the donors for giving us clean water after the tragedy that befell us last year,” is how Sukoluhle Ndlovu summarised her feelings towards the donation.
Another resident, Maggie Mbenguzana also thanked the donors and alluded to this gesture as a good way of cultural conservation where children would be able to learn traditional music and dance.
“From the projects that will sprout from this gesture, our children would be able to learn Isitshikitsha, Mtshongoyo leNgquzu and also see what our forefathers used to wear back in the day.
Most of them do not know indlukula lamahlwayi but this (the donation) will make sure that culture is preserved for generations to come,” said Mbenguzana.