Town hails its Mother Teresa for good works

Michael Sakuneka

Michael Sakuneka

After she was awarded a respected South African award three weeks ago, Rebecca "Beka" Ntsanwisi was welcomed back to Tzaneen by mayor Othaniel Mushwana at a special breakfast in the municipal offices yesterday.

Ntsanwisi received a presidential award, the Order of the Counsellor of the Baobab.

She also received a certificate and three bronze medals for her dedication to helping the marginalised communities in Tzaneen.

The award was handed to her in Pretoria on April 22 by President Thabo Mbeki.

In his message of appreciation on behalf of the people of Greater Tzaneen, Mushwana thanked Ntsanwisi for bringing about the realisation that government is about people.

He said Ntsanwisi was fulfilling the vision of the Freedom Charter, which says the people shall have shelter.

"As a municipality we are overwhelmed by the number of houses you have built for the poor, and the donations and many other contributions you have made to those who deserve and need them," Mushwana said.

Among her contributions to communities, Ntsanwisi, well-known as the Mother Teresa of Limpopo, provided bursaries to students at tertiary institutions and built more than 50 houses for needy families in the Greater Tzaneen Municipality.

She has played a major role in helping families pay for funerals.

She has also established a soccer team for pensioners and has recruited 80 players.

She told Sowetan that she takes care of all her social responsibilities during her spare time.

Ntsanwisi explained that she only gets a few minutes each day to be with her family and said they were getting used to it.

"I want to host a major soccer tournament for pensioners at NkowaNkowa Stadium outside Tzaneen this year," she said.

"The aim will be to keep the elderly fit so that they don't become easy targets for chronic disease."