We had the pleasure of hosting Nontando Mpinda as a job shadower in the March/April school holidays. Initially shy, we soon found that Nontando was a delight. She was keen to share her intimate knowledge of what it’s like to be a teen in Khayelitsha and she held strong forthright opinions too, as you’ll see from her blog. In her own words, here’s her experience of coming to FunDza…
My name is Nontando Mpinda and this is my blog.
It was during the December holidays when I had nothing to do. Then I would just eat and sleep, just being a couch potato, as my grandmother would put it. I guess she got tired of me being around every day.
A family friend told me about FunDza and said I should look them up and try to get some real-life work experience. At first I wasn’t excited about the idea. I am/was a lazy person but I liked reading, so Jackie (a family friend) applied for me to job-shadow or intern with them. To me the whole idea was a little scary and I was still not excited.
A week passed and I had to go to the Eastern Cape for a while. While I was there I received an email from Jackie telling me that my application to job shadow at the FunDza office in Muizenberg had been approved.
I was excited. I’d never sat behind a desk and worked on a computer in an office before.
My mind was running wild. I thought that it’d be this huge building where people would mind their own business and not take notice of anyone else. Weeks passed and I was getting more and more nervous by the minute. But I told myself everything would be fine.
Other people then started sharing with me their experience at work. It sounded horrible!
The schools closed and on the Monday I had to be there. Finally this day had come.
A taxi took me straight to Muizenberg. Jackie and I met at the train station. God, I was nervous!
I even told myself that if the people here will be rude to me then I’d be the same. I’ve heard some people say that “The old ones will pick on you the most because they’ve been stuck on the same position for so long.”
I was quite frightened.
We rang the bell and we were let in. We walked in and Jackie greeted. They looked super cool – all smiles and I felt so left out and she just fit with the ‘crowd’. I really just wanted to walk away. Maybe she should have taken the job herself, I thought to myself.
Then an old funny looking lady just stood in front of me. I could see her lips moving but I didn’t hear anything coming out her mouth. Finally I heard her saying “Hello”. I faked a smile. “How are you doing?” she asked. I just stared at her blankly, my mind was responding but I couldn’t talk. She must be thinking I’m stupid, I thought to myself.
“My name is Mignon,” she said. I just smiled at her and Jackie just said I must be nervous.
Then I saw two black ladies at the reception and my worries just kinda oozed off a little. Jackie left and I was shown to a desk and given a computer to work on.
Phoebe helped me to set it up and I really found her appealing and nice. She helped me then I was off to go. Zimkhitha was the one who really was giving me the work. The first story came in and I was more than happy to edit it. When it came through it was a nightmare, what was happening with this story? Lord please help me, I prayed.
I then sent it through to Zim. I really thought I had done a horrible job with the first one. But, hey, it was my first time, maybe they should’ve taken it a little easy on the intern!
The second day came and, I can’t complain, it went pretty well. I was slowly getting used to Zim. She was pretty cool, and Tamica too.
But I was still so scared. I was even scared to go to the toilet because every time you walk the floor would make a lot of noise. I was so shy.
Then we had a meeting and they talked a little about their work and any problems they were facing. I was really taking notes because my mother said, “When it’s your first time you should take notes because you want to prove that you’re a hard worker.” That just kept ringing in my mind. Days passed and things were really picking up and I warmed up to the people around the office.
I’ll really miss it here, the conversations we had… Priceless. And the laughs, Lord…!
To Vee, Phoebe, Zim, Amy, Tamica, Ndibs, Mig, Nandi, Alonzo and Dorothy: Thank you, for opening your arms for me and welcoming me to your space. Thank you.