Kiyapili Sibanda, Sunday News Reporter
IT took him close to seven years to transform Makokoba Thabiso Youth Centre into a viable place where youths can benefit from curriculum and extra curriculum activities.
He is a former teacher at Senzangakhona Primary School and he had a brief stint in the Zimbabwe National Army and on top of it he is a family man.
Makokoba Thabiso Youth Centre, Recreational Leader, Mr Sibonginkosi Masuku is the man behind the transformation of the youth centre which was like a white elephant where youths in the surroundings used the club to promote illicit activities.
He says it was not an easy road because when he first set foot in the youth centre everything was upside down, premises were deteriorating and vandalism was an in thing.
“I started working at Thabiso Youth Centre in January 2011 so that makes it seven years ago. When I started there everything was not in good state. It was like a white elephant, when I came in I made sure that I come up with a parent association to work hand in glove.
“We then approached Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to bail us out on what we needed in terms of infrastructure development like paint, doors and everything that does with infrastructure. Plan International came to our rescue in helping us with doors and quite a number of our sporting activities,” says Masuku.
He mentions that with that help from Plan International they were in a good position to lure the youth from the streets to come and do things that can make them better in life.
Masuku adds that the number of youths increased dramatically who came to associate with the club in doing activities from computer literacy and different sporting facilities.
He says with the help from parent organisation and the transformation of the youth centre played a very pivotal role in bringing the youths back to where they belong.
“The number increased dramatically with the mobilisation we did with parent organisation and also the transformation itself at the youth centre made them realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” adds Masuku with a smile.
Also, Masuku says that the place before he came was like a forgotten one as unsolicited activities like drug abuse and sexual activities were being carried out in the premises which was not good for the society.
He mentions that even though the club has transformed for the better the hindrance to see the growth of the youth centre was the absence of the perimeter fence to maintain the premises.
“As I talk now it is far much better compared to when first I came here. The problem is that when there is no perimeter fence it’s difficult to maintain as the premises will be open for vandalism. That’s the only stumbling block but what I can tell you is that youths are now off the streets and this is one of our obligations as Thabiso Youth Centre,” says Masuku.
Masuku complements the works which is done by the people of Makokoba by ploughing back to the society in uplifting the lives of the youth in the society.
“We also have arts like dance in the youth centre. We have people who come in to help us and offer assistance in skills training on a voluntary basis. These people are from Makokoba, people like Lewis Ndlovu of Drums of Peace is the one who did the painting of the club. He also teaches children in playing drums and also who train football are from Makokoba. They are simply ploughing back to the community where they come from,” says Masuku.