UMgungundlovu district was established in June 2002, coordinated by the CBO called Friends For Life, which was under the supervision of Zakhele Xaba, with a big membership. Friends for Life was the contact organization for provincial TAC office under the supervision of Zamo Zwane. Mrs. Lesana and Dr. Liez Thomson from Edendale hospital joined as volunteers. Sbusiso Khanyile, who was working for NGO called Shosholoza, also joined as a TAC member. Sbusiso Khanyile had a contact with Oxfam, Zamo Zwane from TAC provincial office, who was assisting a lot on establishing TAC in uMgungundlovu.
In 2003, the TAC District, funded by Oxfam UK, was formed under the supervision of Sbusiso, with only 5 branches: Mpophomeni, Ashdown, Sobantu, Bulwer,, and Elandskop. It had a total of around 200 members. TAC uMgungundlovu was operating using Oxfam’s small office.
In those days it was not easy because of the stigma and denialism associated with HIV. If you were seen going to the TAC office, it was assumed that you were infected with HIV. The relationship between TAC and government was very sensitive with TAC being regarded as one of the opposition party.
In 2004, the number of branches increased from 5 to 10 branches with a total branch membership of 450, and 5 support groups were affiliated with TAC as subscribers. That was the achievement: for TAC to work with community-based support groups. The office was moved to Longmarket Street, Perks building, Arcade building office no.28, where it is currently located. The uMgungundlovu district HIV steering committee was established under the coordination of Mr. Gwala. It functioned very well. TAC district was also represented by Sibusiso Khanyile.
In October 2004 Richard Shandu was appointed as a district organizer for uMgungundlovu district, taking from Sbusiso Khanyile, after Sbu Khanyile was appointed as TAC provincial coordinator.
In 2005 we established partnerships with 5 NGOs namely: KZNCC, PACSA, HRC, NEHAWU and FRIENDS FOR LIFE. There was a major campaign that was called “Fire Manto”. The attendance was more than 2000 marchers and the march was led by TAC.
In 2006, the district led the Access to Information campaign. It was successful. 1422 marchers were present.
Because of the long distances traveled by our members, we have decided to decentralize our branches by introducing sub branches to avoid walking distances of about 10km before reaching the branch site meeting.
In 2007, membership increased to 999. Richard Shandu was invited to address the Department of Justice (uMgungundlovu magistrate court) as one of the speakers for World AIDS Day. The atmosphere was very good. We also headed the campaign against domestic violence when one of our active members was brutally raped. The trial took a very long time because of the sensitivity of the case. TAC members remained supportive and exerted pressure throughout for justice to be attained.
In 2008, the women’s sector was established as well as a people living with HIV/AIDS sector, and the structures were elected. Currently, there is an ongoing process of launching the civil society forum.
The district secretariat consists of Mr. Richard Shandu, who is the Chairperson, Deputy Chair is Mam Betrina Mhlongo from Bulwer, Secretary is Mthandeni Zaca and the Rreasurer is Mabongi Cele.
Meet our staff:
District Coordinator, Mr. Richard Shandu, who we call the father of the house. Richard was born on the 9 August and comes from Eshowe.
Then we move to our stunning housekeeper, Khona Mazibuko. She was born on the 16 June and comes from Dambuza Township in Pietermaritzburg.
Then we move to the beautiful Promise Makhanya who is our Community Health Advocacy coordinator. She comes from Ezimbokodweni near Amanzimtoti in Durban. She was born on the 24 of February. She has one son and is single. She is the mother of 7 CHA’s whom she coordinates.