Zodwa Mqadi (nee Dlamini) (1942 - )
The Order of the Baobab in
Profile of Zodwa Mqadi (nee Dlamini)
Zodwa Mqadi (nee Dlamini) was born to Dorothy Nomahlubi and John Dlamini in Pietermaritzburg, Natal (Kwa-Zulu Natal), in 1942. Her family later moved to Ashdown Location in Pietermaritzburg. In 1985, she completed a degree in community development at the University of Natal.
She grew up under the eye of her maternal grandmother, UmaZulu, whose commitment to the African value system of Ubuntu made a considerable impression on her, and would later determine the course of her life. From her she learnt, among other things, the value of sharing and helping others in times of need.
In 1960 she married Pastor Norman Mqadi. They were blessed with seven children, four of whom passed away later. She started her community work in the 1960s as the wife of a pastor, caring for the physical well-being of the community. In the 1970s, she started crèches at KwaMakhutha Township, which led to the establishment of a school for physically and mentally challenged children as well as adult workshops for the physically disabled. She also started care programmes for the neglected elderly. Some of her community initiatives include:
• A school for mentally retarded children at the Lutheran Church.
• A sewing group aimed at empowering women.
• She motivated local youth to care for their aged in the 2-roomed houses by cleaning and rendering much-needed services
• She established a shelter and hand-craft centre for the disabled people of Kwa-Makhutha
• She also founded the Kwa-Makhutha Child and Family Welfare Society with the help of the Durban office of The National Child
and Family Welfare Society.
• She established Zimele for retarded and disabled children in Molweni
In the 1980s, she worked for World Vision, a charity organization focusing on young needy children. In 1992, she worked for Valley Trust at Botha’s Hill as an Aids counsellor and educator; working with churches and building a corps of volunteers who gave up their weekends mobilising churches to support and care for those who had disclosed their HIV status. Working for charity organizations focusing on needy children and as Aids counsellor and educator armed her with the necessary experience that would stand her in good stead once on her own.
In the 1990s, she founded the Agape Children’s Home in Waterfall, Durban which provides support for orphaned and vulnerable children. She started the project mainly in response to the fears and concerns of people living with Aids about the long-term care of their children. The children are taught the importance of good nutrition and how to grow vegetables. Some of the children she took care of are now at tertiary education level.
Zodwa Mqadi has made an exceptional contribution to advance the country away from its painful past.