Meet the ‘Mother of the Disabled’

Inside a brightly colored building, children of all ages sing, dance, and learn. However, unbeknownst to them, they are living in the most dangerous, gang-infested township in Cape Town, said Nontuthuzelo Nozulwane, founder of Nomaxabiso Centre for Children.

More than 100 students attend the center, which offers education and care for children with special needs. The school also provides preschool instruction for kids in the neighborhood.

Cape Town is the capital city of Western Cape Province, with a little over 5.8 million inhabitants. The childcare center is situated in Philippi East, a township with a high rate of crime, drug abuse and unemployment.

“This is one of the most dangerous areas. People get shot and nothing is done,” said the Rev. Brian Marimira, a United Methodist pastor who led nearby Bethel United Methodist Mission for two years. He said it pains him to come back to the neighborhood and see the needs of the community.

But despite the dangers, Nomaxabiso Centre is well respected in the neighborhood and its work has not been affected by criminal activities, Nozulwane said.

She said it was her disabled son, Mphuthumi Mfengu, who motivated her to start assisting other children in the community with similar conditions as his. Mfengu is now 31 years old.

“When I started this charity work in 1992, I had a shack that occupied five kids only. My aim was to assist community parents who could not take care of their disabled children,” Nozulwane said. “Now, the center has grown in numbers to more than 100 children and I make sure that every child is happy, loved and well taken care of.”

She said the center’s teachers also instruct mothers on how to take care of their children at home, noting that many of them struggled before they came to Nomaxabiso.

United Methodists in South Africa offer support for Nozulwane’s ministry. The Rev. Maureen Figlan, Cape Coastal District superintendent, said the center holds a special place in her heart.

“Each time I visit, disabled kids welcome me with genuine smiles and love. This melts my heart with joy,” she said.

Nozulwane said her work has been rewarding, but for parents and students in the neighborhood, the center has been life-changing.

“When I walk on the streets of this community, members (smile) at me and call me by the name ‘Mother of the disabled.’ God never stops giving me strength to do good.”

Source: United Methodist News