“I want to ensure that all trees are cared for” – Ntombi Malinga

When you are on the campus side of African Christian College, you mostly miss the chance to interact and appreciate the people who, through their hard work and dedication, work tirelessly in the Tree of Life (TOL) to make the college what is it. These women and men leave their homes early in the morning each working day to come and labour in the farm for one common goal – the growth of the institution through the TOL. We, as the blog team, are fortunate enough to have the chance to interact with them, and today we introduce to you Ntombi Malinga.

Make Ntombi, from Gege in the Shiselweni region, came to us exactly 10 years ago as one of our casual workers. She is a married woman with two children, a girl and a boy. It was not only her hard working spirit, but also her warmth and charm that strengthened the relationship, such that three years later, 2010, she was employed on a permanent basis. She vividly recalls that her promotion came at precisely the same time as with her current supervisor, Fana Simelane. It is probably the same reason why they seem to have a good working relationship, indeed when we came to talk with her they were together engaged in some work. She does express, blushingly so, that she wishes to grow from the work she is doing now. Her desire, as she says, is to improve each day in her work and climb higher and higher.

Make Ntombi, in a green t-shirt, at her favourite work station – dehusking

For someone who has been doing this work for ten years, her greatest concern is that when harvest time comes, there will be a bountiful harvest. “What I love about my job,” she says, “is being there during watering and pruning because I want to make sure that every tree is cared for in order to get the harvest we desire.” In addition to that, she mostly enjoys taking part in dehusking because, as you might guess, she is able to see the fruits of the work she and others have been putting all along. Her facial expression changes for a moment as she remembers the effects of the draught last year that resulted in a very low harvest. However, the grace she exudes returns because this year the produce looks impressive. “As I was packing the nuts, I could see that our hard work was not in vain this year,” she says with a smile.

There surely are some memorable times in her work, and she did share with us one. Last year the TOL workers went on a trip to our partner in South Africa, Ivory Macadamia, where we transport our nuts to. The team was given a tour around the manufacturing place and were taught about what happens where and its importance. For make Ntombi, what stood out was the teaching on unity of all employees. She was so impressed with it that she regards it as the most memorable time as a TOL worker and wishes that such opportunities can be availed more often. Not only was she affected by the teaching, it does seem, as she observes, that most of her colleagues too were touched as there is some unity and cooperation among them ever since they went to South Africa.

You will never be around make Malinga and not be affected by her grace, and it is the reason she is able to relate to people well. The spirit of such people and the love they have for the institution’s work is the reason some people are able to get an opportunity to get into class and obtain an education. These people are our heroines and heroes and for that we appreciate them and give thanks to God.

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