What we know about Nongoma
- Nongoma is situated in South Africa in the northern area of the KawZulu-Natal province. It has a population of 244,501 and there are approximately 35,293 households.
- It is a one street town. Away from the town itself, there are around 363 settlements comprising “rural villages” and “scattered communities”. Within both of these categories live no less than 98% of the Nongoma population.
- Three rivers serve Nongoma. Given the many uses of the rivers, water pollution is a problem. Many use them for washing clothes, feeding animals, human consumption and waste.
- The sewage system is very limited and most rural households make use of the bush.
- There is very limited access to electricity. Most make use of coal or paraffin and/or wood, cow-dung and crop waste. Collection of such materials usually falls to women and children, which ultimately can impact on their health and development.
- Most of the housing is made from basic materials and is not sound. It often only needs a storm, adverse weather conditions or at its worse a tornado (not uncommon) for many houses to be brought to the ground and cause acute devastation to a community.
- Nongoma has 133 primary schools, 60 middle schools and 19 secondary school. Most are very basic, with minimum provisions, sharing of desks and little recreational facilities. Children have limited access to exercise books and basic provisions such as pens and stationary.
What Issues are the people of Nongoma having to deal with?
- Nongoma is lacking in the most basic provisions. People’s inability to access basic services and care for their family leaves many of them feeling their lives actually are not worth living;
- It is generally hard for these people to be positive about the future.
- A lack of basic services;
- High levels of incidences of HIV/AIDs infection
- High levels of poverty;
- Poor health conditions.
- Poor education leading to low literacy rates;
- Low levels of skills/training
What type of help would benefit the people of Nongoma?
- They are not looking that “quick fixes” ;
- What the people of Nongoma require, is sustainable and developing help to meet the needs of those who come after as well as those who are here now.
- They have said there is no point in anyone coming into their areas to offer help unless what they bring is sustainable.
What are the priority areas of need?
- The priority needs of the local people are around “self-actualisation” that is the need to be able to achieve something in life, feel much more valued as a member of a community and then be able to contribute to the lives of others, including their own families.
- The other more basic and pressing needs are around day-today living, and at times survival, with local areas needing to be able to get food, water, sleep, shelter and health care.
- Each ward needs to be able to offer local services to the local people and where possible eventually run by local people.
- The needs of the people in rural areas, especially in the most poorest, are best served through the ability to empower those people with the provision of local services run through a common community facility, offering a range of local based services under the one roof such as:
- Facilities for crèches and educational support;
- Facilities for training/life skills work/self-help groups;
- Medical care;
- Facilities for drop in/support groups;