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KWAZULU-NATAL premier Zweli Mkhize and his wife May Mashego-Mkhize gave new meaning to the term "giving back to the community" on Friday night.
The couple put their duties as government officials aside, rolled up their sleeves and set about establishing the Ngunezi Foundation or TNF.
The nonprofit foundation, though established last year, was officially launched at Durban's Elangeni Hotel on Friday.
Its primary objective is "to develop the people of our province, especially women, the youth and communities in need of sustainable empowerment and upliftment", according to the province's first lady.
The premier told guests: "Over the years I have received from so many who are now asking for help and assistance.
"The government can only do so much and the need is so great that we felt we had to do something more."
The foundation has helped 20 students and budding entrepreneurs further their studies and getting their businesses off the ground.
Mashego-Mkhize said: "Zweli and I feel strongly about development.We feel we cannot say there is so much poverty and need out there and then do nothing.
"We have to start close to home to help those who come to us."
She said people want to earn. They have the ideas. They just need someone to help facilitate it. The foundation can help in such cases.
One of the beneficiaries of the foundation's efforts is Bulelani Nxumalo. He said his vision now was to give back to the foundation that got his business off the ground.
Nxumalo, who runs Umzungulu Steel Projects, said: "I approached the foundation late last year.
"I had the expertise to make steel-framed windows, but I did not have the money to even make a sample to show clients.
"The foundation helped me with R600 and I made the first sample that helped me secure clients."
He said a further R10000 allowed him to buy materials to deliver on orders.
"My business now employs six people and I own it with two other people.
"I supply 11 hardware stores in the Pietermaritzburg area. My plan now is to give back to the foundation, so that they can help others, like they helped me," Nxumalo said.