Humans of RCL FOODS – Nokukhanya Ngcobo

Nokukhanya stands in the gap to help young people succeed

Nokukhanya Ngcobo, a Pricing and Rebates Clerk at RCL FOODS’ National Office, is smart and ambitious. She completed her tertiary education, despite coming from a poor background, she’s providing for her young son, and she’s working hard to build a successful career. But Nokukhanya isn’t satisfied with only creating a bright future for herself, she wants others to flourish too.

“My life purpose is to help people to see their own power and strength,” she says.

Five years ago, while still a student at DUT, she started an initiative called Ikusasa Applications to assist people in rural areas to apply for university, learnerships and student financial aid.

“Students back in our area are struggling when it comes to university applications, and they end up not going to university and losing hope in education,” says Nokukhanya.

In 2019 she helped 8 students submit successful applications at no cost to them. By 2023 the number had grown to over 45. Nokukhanya’s vision is to help many more students and to partner with other local municipalities, businesses and the province’s Central Applications Office (CAO). “I cannot do this alone. Together we can make it happen,” she says.

She says it was her grandmother’s support that gave her the confidence “to do what I needed to do to be where I am today”.

One of her personal highlights was winning the third prize in the DUT Community Engagement Showcase and Pitching Awards in 2020. With the R10 000 prize she bought a laptop and printer and installed Wi-Fi at Ikusasa’s small office at her local community hall in Jolivet, near Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal. Nokukhanya personally pays two assistants to work there during the week, and she does the rest in her free time – especially when she goes home at weekends to see her grandmother and two-year old son.

“If they receive the necessary education, people in the rural areas are capable of taking the lead in shaping the future for themselves and the community. There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about,” she says.

Well done Nokukhanya for living your purpose and helping us live ours!