Tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
My name is Mzamo Nkosinathi Sikhondze. I was born and raised in the St. Philips area, & attended both Primary and High School there. My father had two wives, & my mother was the 2nd wife and had four children, of whom I am the 2nd-born. Both my parents have already died. When I completed school, my goal was to be a teacher. However, as the 2nd-born, & oldest male, I had the responsibility of taking care of my parents, and I was the only bread winner. So, instead of going to study, I looked for a job & hoped to start earning money quickly. I found some local employment, and later on, in Mbabane (capital of ESwatini). I am married and live with my family near St. Philips. In 2005, I decided to search for a job closer to home, rather than being far from my family.
What is your role in HSR?
I joined Cabrini (now called ‘Cabrini Ministries Eswatini’ CME) in early 2006, and, currently, I am the Human Resources Manager (HR), and, since 3 months, also serving as Deputy Executive Director.
Your Cabrini history- how did you meet the MSCs?
I used to hear about Cabrini Ministries and the good work being done in 2004, during the HIV pandemic which hit the Swaziland very hard. A relative had to receive healthcare service during that time, and I recall meeting a CM staff member who explained how Cabrini helps people health-wise, and how my relative could be assisted. In 2006, I heard that CME were hiring Tutors. Though I had little knowledge of Cabrini, based on what I had heard, I was inclined to apply so I could be part of this good service provider. Also, working at Cabrini would be advantageous to me since I would be working closer to home. In February, I joined Cabrini in a Tutor position, & I continue to see myself directly and indirectly providing services to my community, which is important to me. I have also seen myself grow both spiritually and professionally over these years.
What do you hope for with HSR?
The Region is still growing and, to empower this growth, we, as individuals and Cabrini entities, need to grow also. I would like to see the HSR shining amongst other parts of the Cabrini world. I hope for a complete administration structure with a central office. I also hope, where possible, for improved skills and material sharing. Basically, I hope for greater interconnectedness; though I clearly understand our limitations due to COVID-19. One day, it is going to be a thing of the past. As leaders within the HSR, we carry the responsibility of ensuring that our values are rightly upheld. We also carry the responsibility of communicating what is happening within and across the Cabrini world.
What are your dreams for the future?
As an organization, we cannot be everything for everyone. We have a mandate of providing comprehensive, integrated quality services to the most poor and vulnerable. Our existence is determined by the needs of the people. My dream is that our presence be clearly felt by our beneficiaries. We need to grow both professionally and in the Cabrinian charism. In order to be stronger, we need to understand & be driven by the questions – Why are we here? Are we still ‘Restoring Life’? At times, I would hear the Regional Superior saying, “We are not here to provide jobs for people, but to care for the communities” & “If it’s time for us to move to another place where our services are more needed, let’s do so”. This might be scary to some people, but it is the truth. Personally, my dream is to continue to learn and grow professionally, & hope that people can learn from me as I learned from others; that sharing my knowledge and experience will help people develop, especially those with whom I am in direct contact.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
In conclusion, I thank the MSCs for choosing to minister in this community. It is clear that God loves the people around here, because He brought the MSCs to us! I say it, & others say it also – if the MSCs never came to this community, it would not be like it is today. People’s lives have changed, and some would have died long ago yet now they are still alive. All this is because of the quality services that Cabrini Ministries provides to our community. I find that we are different from other organizations in that we provide comprehensive and integrated (Education, Family Services, Health Care) services. Our approach is holistic. I thank the MSCs for choosing this community!
(Thanks to Sr. Meseret for this interview)