Nina Manzi comes Alive
Nina Manzi has been abuzz with activity, ever since she opened her doors to the homeless in July of 2022, giving them a safe space to cleanse themselves as well as regaining some dignity back into their lives.
In this article we shall take a look back at the colourful journey so far because it has been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, which we are grateful to have experienced as this has enabled us to build a foundation on which to serve this vulnerable community.
WHO IS NINA MANZI
Nina Manzi is a supernatural entity that was brought to life through the creative ideas of children in an artistic workshop held at a rural remote school in Bulungula, Eastern Cape.
The school children came up with super wash heroes and one of the characters they conceptualized was Nina Manzi. She was given a supernatural power which enables her to draw water from source and move it to where it is needed. Besides this important ability, Nina Manzi is also gifted with motherly qualities like being nurturing and being able to restore the wellbeing and the dignity of those that she serves.
The wash facility that is offering homeless people a clean shower embodies the attributes of Nina Manzi, it has become a physical extension of her mission to give homeless people access to clean water and basic hygiene. We only saw it fitting to name it after this phenomenal shero.
NINA MANZI COLLABORATORS
Nina Manzi has some incredible helpers being of aid to her on her journey; one of these helpers is Uturn Homeless Ministries. Uturn is an organization doing amazing work in rehabilitating homeless people back into society. They have collaborated with us by allowing Nina Manzi to serve the homeless on their premises and have further shown support by supplying us with water to use on our wash facility as well as providing a safe and secure spot in which to place our wash facility.
We in turn act as an incentive for homeless people encouraging them to make use of all the programmes available at Uturn, after they use Nina Manzi.
THE NINA MANZI HELPERS
Nina Manzi has a close family of assistants to help with her daily running. These helpers have all been affected by homelessness, either they had close relations that were homeless or they themselves have gone through it. Some of the Nina Manzi Helpers landed up on the streets because of their rough past characterized by gangsterism and substance abuse, while others spiralled into homelessness when they lost their income due to the effects of Covid-19.
The Nina Manzi Project has enabled its employees a second chance at life, where they can work to build autonomous lives and become contributors to society, thus successfully overcoming homelessness. One of the employees is now able to pursue a driver’s license since joining the Nina Manzi team, whilst the other is saving up for a deposit to rent a flat.
We are also collaborating with Uturn around Nina Manzi Employment where they supply us with suitable candidates from their Uturn Employment Readiness Graduate Programme. This has been a significant factor in the reintegration back into society for our employees, who see this as a second chance at a better life.
NINA MANZI LAUNCH CELEBRATIONS:
The time of year was significant as August is women’s month. Nina Manzi represents the strength of women and how a community can be restored once we regain our value in maternal instincts. It was also a time to review how we would find new ways to connect to our female clients, as their numbers were low when compared to their male counterparts.
The launch featured 2 events taking place on the same day. The first took place in the morning and gave background insight on Nina Manzi. It featured various speakers like Ajay Paul, who is the Director of Viva Con Agua, Sisanda Henda, who is the Nina Manzi Project Manager and Lindley April who is the Operations Manager at Uturn.
The second event took place in the afternoon at Uturn, next to the trailer.This one was a celebration of Nina Manzi and the homeless community. It featured accounts from previously homeless people and how they had come off the streets. The launch featured the talented Bhelekazi who intrigued the crowd with her poem. We also had a riveting dance hall performance by one of the Uturn Graduates. All in all, this was an occasion to celebrate the hard work it has taken to get this project off the ground.
We also enjoyed good media coverage of Nina Manzi. We had a flood of radio stations, television shows and newspapers reporting on our trailer. Some of the coverage included You Magazine, Radio Cape Talk, Smile FM, Groundup and The Cape Times.
WHATS NEXT FOR NINA MANZI
Our next step is making the bus go mobile. We are in talks with Uturn Muizenberg to get the trailer to serve the homeless community there. Two sites have been identified and we are absolutely excited to extend our desperately needed service in that area. We are also planning a wellness day later in the year to increase well-being among the Nina Manzi users.