My Hometown: Dundonald, Mpumalanga


Upon return to his childhood village Dundonald in Mpumalanga, eNCAs Thulasizwe Simelane shares his story of trial and triumph, having grown up under apartheid.

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MPUMALANGA - Dundonald is located in the Gert Sibande district municipality east Mpumalanga. It was part of the former homeland KaNgwane established under apartheid’s Group Areas Act.

Though KaNgwane was dissolved in 1994 along with the other nine homelands, Dundonald residents remain isolated to this day. Growing up without basic infrastructure, Thulasizwe remembers fetching water from a shared well, before communal taps were introduced.

PHOTO: Thulasizwe Simelane as a young boy growing up in Dundonald, Mpumalanga.

Today, it is common place to see people carrying firewood from the nearby forests. Though Dundonald has seen some developmental changes, an air of exclusion remains.

Thulasizwe matriculated at SW Nhlapo high school’s in 1997. He then went on to study at Rhodes University through NSFAS funding and qualified as a journalist. He returns to his old school and chats with an old friend, as well as the school’s founding principal Mr. Mbuyane, and its current principal Mr. Shongwe.

Mbuyane and Thulasizwe reminisces about the past and how Mbuyane played a key role in determining the trajectory of Thulasizwe’s life. Shongwe discusses how things have changed since he left almost twenty years ago, and about the challenges that remain. Child-headed households and children surviving on nominal social grant incomes of their parents are still challenges faced by learners every day.

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Though Dundonald is lagging far behind other parts of the country, it has made steady progress.

Sky-rocketing from humble-beginnings, Thulasizwe remains hopeful about the progress in Dundonald’s future.

PHOTO: Boys play soccer at sunset next to a commericial pine forest in Dundonald, Mpumalanga.


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