Sithabiso Mndaba is the chairperson of Siyamthanda Community Services, an NPO that creates an enabling environment for collaborations that drive tangible impacts in communities.
During level five lockdown, Mndaba realised that the uMhlathuze Local Municipality was not able to adequately service the community in which it operated. Taking the initiative, he began with a clean-up, enlisting the help of volunteers. Clearing the litter and other waste was not the sole target of their efforts. Mndaba also cut grass and trimmed foliage in an attempt to beautify his community. With this ethos in mind, Siyamthanda was formed.
Mndaba’s approach to community work centres on empowerment. This extends to the day-to-day work that Siyamthanda engages in and the networks Mndabais building with other NGOs within the sector.
He believes that the maintenance and improvement of the physical location of his community will preserve and enrich both the community and their land.
Future Siyamthanda projects include a series of educational drives to encourage better community management. Mndaba aims to educate his community about proper waste disposal. Following this, he plans to expand Siyamthanda’s role from clean-up to landscaping.
Mental preparation, focus and full support of your colleagues, family and friends is the most important advice that Mndaba can give to anyone trying to make it within his field. To be an environmentalist, one needs to be hands-on, and this kind of approach will invariably lead to interactions with many people. Mndaba’s values will lead the way.
“Everything starts in the mind, so we are looking to initiate a project where we can start teaching kids about sustainability and keeping our environments clean.”