Dear Afrika: Meet Nangamso Koza
Nangamso Koza is a leadership and education development specialist. We have been following Nangamso’s work since 2015 and are excited to share the story of a woman who has fiercely pursued her passion and purpose – to transform the education landscape for black learners in South Africa, particularly in the Eastern Cape Province.
Who is Nangamso Koza?
Nangamso Koza has over eight years of experience as a researcher, project manager and communications practitioner. She founded her organization Inqubela Foundation with her last R200 in 2011. The Foundation, through its academy, Inqubela Leadership Academy (ILA) provides Afro-centric leadership and literacy development programs for various stakeholders including but not limited to the education and community engagement sectors. They have served up to a 100 schools in the Free State and Eastern Cape provinces, thousands of learners and continue to grow their impact. As an ode to Nangamso, some words and elements in this article have been written in isiXhosa. She is one woman who is proud of her language and heritage, trust us! Her voicemail recording is in isiXhosa.
Imvelaphi: The Beginnings
NK: I was born in Komani and raised in Hewu (30 km from Komani) in the Eastern Cape. I was raised by a single parent, and educator who served our people for over 35 years. My grandfather, an educator and school principal for over 45 years was an inspiring figure growing up. We saw how he loved his family unconditionally. He loved, provided and supported his entire family selflessly. I grew up sheltered by Mama’s love and protection. Mama raised us (my two siblings and I) to be very independent. At age six I took two taxis to get home when she had to stay behind at school. I knew I had to scream out where I would get off the minute the taxi driver got inside the taxi, just to make sure I was headed to the right place. That and so many other situations taught me so much about independence and leadership. Mama loved us and taught us to love people. Our home to this day is never without visitors. We watched how she interacted with people and how she would share all she had with those in need. I grew up appreciating the value of education. From Mama, Tamkhulu’s journey and so much more, I saw how education was able to change an entire family’s living conditions.
Ngokutsho Kwakhe: In her own words
Uphi uNangamso: Where is this African woman right now
NK: I run Inqubela Foundation – what an honour! We provide Afrocentric educational programs for education-focused organisations and institutions with a special focus on leadership and literacy development. Our focus at first was solely on adopting schools and in partnership with them, implement developmental programs that will enable the learners to reach their full potential. We have had the honour of serving over 50 schools and thousands of learners.
Our biggest plan is expanding our Inqubela Leadership Academy, and officially launching and running it as a school. The plan is to have ILA campuses all over the nation. I am excited about what the future holds, looking at the other things I am working on. I look forward to having more opportunities to travel and interact with new people.
Ndimlo, ndiyaphambili: Where this woman is going
NK: We’re going to establish Inqubela Leadership Academies in developing communities in our nation and beyond. Our academies will offer an Afrocentric curriculum. We want to produce the next generation of informed, exposed, conscious and selfless leaders. I believe in our programs. I see how 14 and 15 year olds who were not even interested in reading are now establishing book clubs in every corner of their communities. I watch and get inspired when I interact with and watch how former Representative Council for Learners committee members who are now graduates and university students are changing the lives of so many children still at school in their communities through the various community development programs they run.
Ndandingenakukhe ndinikezele: I could never give up
NK: I have had many moments where I really felt I was tired, drained and just miserable. It was due to not having either enough money for programs, being disappointed by certain stakeholders etc. I never thought of quitting. I will never quit. I am very grateful to have people that love me so much that they too carry my dreams as theirs, and sacrifice their time and resources to making so much of what I dream of come true. They too are in it for the love and development of our children.
Impumelelo: What success looks like for Nangamso
NK: Success for me is seeing my children graduate and either create (preferably) or find employment. It’s changing one’s life in a way that continues to restore their dignity. It can also be simply hearing Mama saying, “Qhuba ntondo (keep going my child). I am proud of you”
Kuwe mntwakwethu ozamayo: Dear woman in the making, woman in search of a dream
NK: “We are the ones we have been waiting for”- June Jordaan.
uMnqweno wam: Nangamso’s vision for Africa
NK: My vision for Africa, is for us to be a continent at peace, and one that respects and protects the dignity of those most vulnerable. At some point, one only hopes we will be led by people that have the best interest of our people at heart.
This is what generations will remember Nangamso for, this is why you NEED to meet her:
Nangamso’s heart for people and her bravery to speak out for social justice and equality in education. She is able to recognize a seed of potential in any young person and has given her life to nurturing that seed to greater heights and success.
We are most proud of you, woman! Makwande (Let us triumph, let us build)
For more information about Inqubela Foundation visit their website here http://www.inqubelafoundation.com/ share their work and like them on Facebook . You can also follow Nangamso on twitter @NangamsoKoza.