New homeowner Metrina Selepe and her daughter, Gugu, are pictured in front of their house #922.
Photo by Ginny Dixon
JCWP homeowner Muriel Job in front of her home.
Homeowners Mambo and Juliette Mkhize, owners of house #1000 which Pres. and Mrs. Carter are volunteering on.
Photo by Kim MacDonald
Wednesday June 5, 2002
Joyce Nomusa Mhlongo
Nomusa lives with her three children and three other people in a one-bedroom apartment. She says she is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Habitat for Humanity, but she never thought that getting her own house would mean that she has to work every Saturday on a build site (“sweat equity”). This has been quite an experience for her, because she always thought that this was a job for men!
Although she attended college and trained to be a teacher, Joyce was never able to find employment in her field. Today, she works as a catering manager and she and her daughter live with Joyce’s aunt and her family. Her son is not staying with her because the house is overcrowded. Joyce is looking forward to owning her own house so that she can bring her family together under one roof.
Kathy Shabangu is married with two children. She currently stays at her employer’s home and says that getting a house is going to make all the difference in her life. She also says that being involved with Habitat for Humanity has helped her to meet people from different backgrounds and that this is going to be an experience she will never forget.
Months of Habitat for Humanity community training meetings have changed Knowledge Nakin’s outlook in a positive way. He says: “Thank you for the effort of listening to our hidden stories that even our families do not bother asking and friends do not know.” Knowledge adds that he feels a special love for everyone involved with Habitat for Humanity.
Thirty-two-year-old Lindiwe Khwela enjoys attending church and caring for her mother-in-law. She and her husband are very proud of their family, especially their children, Sandile, 17, and Nkanyiso, 6. Lindiwe says that Habitat for Humanity is a very caring organization that knows and meets the needs of the people. She likes to think of them as family, too.
Lindiwe is 50 years old and works as an assistant cook at the Isigisher Old Age Home. After 20 years of renting the same house, she was forced to leave because it was sold. This has made her dependent on a friend, who has put a bed in her living room and cleared out a room for Lindiwe to store all her possessions. Lindiwe is excited about her partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the new things she is learning. She stays on the site long after others have left. It will be a special day when Lindiwe can unpack her life in her own house.
Lucy has never had a family house and neighbors before. The community training meetings she has attended in recent months have helped her get to know some people and learn about trusting, cooperation and relationships with others. She says she is looking forward to living as a family with her two children in their own home.
Lungile Mhlongo, age 25, lives with her 74-year-old grandfather and her younger cousin who is 10 years old. The house is falling in because of rains and bad foundations, thus they need a decent home. Lungile’s grandparents and aunt, who she says taught her life skills and devotion to God in spite of the disability with which she was born, raised her. Lungile says getting a house will restore her dignity.
Lungile was the eldest in a family of five children. From an early age, she worked to help her mother support the family. Now raising two children of her own, she is happy to have found a job that allows her to partner with Habitat for Humanity and make a modest house payment.
Magdaline (“Maggy”) moved to Durban to seek employment to support her children. She found work as a domestic servant, but has not been able to keep her children with her. She has not been able to keep her children since their birth. When Maggy’s new house is built, it will be the first time she can have all her children live with her.
Makhosi’s parents got divorced when she was an infant, and she did not know her father until she was in high school. Since then, they have been close, and her father has been a frequent volunteer on the site of Makhosi’s soon-to-be house. Makhosi will share her new home with her child and her fiancé.
A pastor, Mambo Mkhize is living temporarily in a mission house with his wife and two children. He is eager for his own place so that when the time comes for him to retire, he will not find himself without a house. Joining Habitat for Humanity has helped him to work with other people from different religions and cultures to build their houses. The Mkhize family is honored to be building their house alongside Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.
Martha Sodlama knows you have to work hard for anything of lasting value. “In these times that we are living in, we are so used to having things that are free and don’t have to work for them,” she says. “But Habitat for Humanity is different. They make sure that you do ‘sweat equity’ until you get your house, which is good because you not only meet your new neighbors beforehand, but learn how to do other jobs as well.”
Since Metrina Selepe’s husband died in 1993, she has lived with her six children in a one-room wooden shack. It is such a fire hazard that no candles are allowed in the room, and the family cannot afford to use much electricity.
Metrina proudly shows the medals her son has won as a swimmer, holding up a selection of silver and gold. She looks forward to hanging them properly on the wall of her new house.
Mgciniseni Ntuli is 27 years old and works for a trucking company. He says he is proud to have accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and that God helped him choose his wife, Maureen. The Ntulis have a four-year-old child named Thamsanqa. Mgciniseni enjoys working outside in the garden and planting vegetables and says he is thoroughly enjoying working on houses with Habitat for Humanity.
Micca Sibiya, age 52, is married with six children. Some years ago, he left home in search of a job in Durban. Back home, his wife and children struggled due to violence that broke out in that area. Micca pleaded with his employer to let his family stay with him on the employer’s premises. The employer allowed them to come, but the family could not stay in this small place forever. Micca had to find a place to call his own. He is grateful to have found a solution by working with Habitat for Humanity.
Modesta Delisiwe Dlamini
Modesta Dlamini and her two children moved to Durban in 1992 so she could find work. Since then, the family has lived in a shack in one of the city’s many “informal” settlements of makeshift shelters and little or no infrastructure. At the time she learned about Habitat for Humanity, Modesta was worried because she had learned that her family would have to move from the shack to make way for a new school building. Modesta says her life has already changed for the better since she knows that in June she will move into a house of her own.
Muriel Job says she never considered living in the same neighborhood as black families, but the Jimmy Carter Work Project community training changed her mind. She says the project is building a real community and family environment. The mother of five children, Muriel’s three youngest children still live at home.
Married with three children, Musawenkosi Ngcobo feels blessed to have a wife who is loving and caring. He says an important lesson he learned from his mother is that he should live life in a way that he will never regret in the future. With this thought in mind, Musawenkosi spends time helping others in need and is proud of his work on an anti-drug project.
Nana says there is nothing more rewarding than knowing she was chosen to be one of the 100 Jimmy Carter Work Project homeowners. “My heart is beating like crazy from the excitement of knowing that at last I’ve found a house,” she adds. She looks forward to having a secure home for herself and her son and says she plans to continue helping other families even after she completes her 500 hours of “sweat equity.”