January 3, 2016

Thulasizwe Goba – women of Inanda

Mr Thulasizwe Goba was born in 1928 at Sophiatown and his parents were born in Inanda. His parents had lived in Johannesburg because they worked in the mines. He received his primary education in Johannesburg and the family came back in 1936. He completed his primary education at Inanda Day School and then went to Lorrem School. He furthered his studies in nearby areas, and then became a teacher. Mr Goba is an active member of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA). I had a conversation with him about the role played by women in the social wellbeing of the community of Inanda.

Mr Goba talked a great deal about one woman that stood out for him in the field of social welfare or social assistance. Mrs Hawes was born at Molweni; she was an Arts teacher and got married into the Hawes family of Inanda.   After getting married, she moved to Inanda. He explains that Mrs Hawes used to bring women together; teach them about farming, life skills, the importance of the different food groups and what they do in the bodies. Mrs Hawes established the Qadi Clinic, with the help of women of Matata, a nearby area. Mr Goba described Mrs Hawes as a humble person who did not want to be recognised as the main person behind such projects. Mrs Hawes died in 1965.

Mr Goba talked about the 1960s, explained that people of Inanda were engaged in farming mostly and that the population was not as large as it is today. Women at the time had good relationships with each other, helped each other and offered social assistance to the community, usually not within established organisations. Women of Inanda got together and started Cathulani Welfare Centre, which is still operating today. The main function of Cathulani is to serve as a crèche to community children. Mr Goba explains that there is a strong link, especially through Mrs Hawes, between the UCCSA local church and the women’s clubs that led to the establishment of Cathulani. He further explained that the daughter of Dr. M.V. Gumede and Bertha Mkhize were leading in the establishment of Cathulani and then at a later stage Mbali (granddaughter of Bertha Mkhize) joined. Mr Goba was also urged to join the board that was in charge of the church. Cathulani also resulted in the birth of Masizane, which was established by Mrs Bophela who was in the Cathulani board. People were able to gain skills through Masisizane such as knitting and farming. Mr Goba emphasised that women worked together; shared knowledge and skills and helped those who were in need.

Missionaries were not only a great influence on women involved in social assistance but also with soccer. Mr Goba stated that it was through missionaries that people were able to gain soccer skills. It started here in Inanda and then it was spread throughout the country. Mission education played a significant role in social development and skills development.

In the 1970s, people of Inanda could not engage in political activities; severe measures were taken against people who were part of political organisations like the African National Congress (ANC). There were spies payed by the government; if they report you then you would get a 80 days detention and most people did not come back after 80 days. Some were killed and some were sent to other places.

Ayanda Ngcobo

(Interview in March 2015)