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Ncane Mabuza, 20 year old girl from Utah village, Hoedspruit.

Sometimes I go through an environment with a mindset that I have to be fast. Unfortunately I had limited time with Ncane Mabusa so I tried to rush my conversation with her to get the best of it, but that didn’t work. We had to take chairs out of the house so that we can sit under the tree because it was a hot day. The way she spoke and moved, I could tell that she is a leader.

She told me she studies environmental monitoring and how nature has shown her life more than anything else. Utah village is one of the cleanest villages I’ve been to on this trip. Ncane and her mother believe that community improvement comes first. I began to wonder if other young people in the community have the same vision. Ncane told me that they all have left the village for the city.

Whilst doing this project, I’ve noticed that the villages are empty . There are no young people in the villages as they all have left for the cities like Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Pretoria for job opportunities and better education. It’s a good thing, but the problem is that they are allegedly not coming back to the villages. They send money on a monthly basis. You are likely to find old people in a village looking after the children of those in the city.

Ncane expressed her concerns about young people leaving the village, ” Why go somewhere and improve other places instead of staying home and improve the community?”

When she said that I thought about my life. I was born in a village in Nqamakwe. I left Nqamakwe in 1999 for Cape Town. I have been living in Cape Town for fourteen years now. Growing up I never questioned why I hardly go to visit my family in the Eastern Cape. In my mind I’ve always thought Cape Town is the better place than Nqamakwe, so I never cared If i didn’t go back. When she mentioned the improvement of the community. I couldn’t help to think about the work I’ve done for Langa Township in Cape Town. My photographs urges and challenges the change of the community. I had never thought of doing a photographic project about where I was born. I don’t blame myself for anything. At the end of this year I am going to the initiation school in Eastern Cape. I am so excited because I will finally feel the soil of my lost home. I have learnt a lot while growing up in Cape Town and I am grateful for everything, but however my problem is what the Prince Ngonyama of Pondoland said the first time he spoke with me, ” Sipho, you are civilized, but uncultured”.