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Updated: Jul 12, 2021

Warm and quietly confident, Zikhona Gqibani joined Axium as a Nobalisa in 2016 sure that she could bring great skills to the job after seeing a poster advertising the position of Community Reader (Nobalisa).

“I was sure that post needed me,” she said, explaining that while she was still at school she took younger children from her home to a reading club in that area. “I saw how to work with kids and what they learn in the reading club.”

Originally from Xgwangu location, Zikhona completed matric at Seaview High School in 2013, and then decided to rewrite the exams in 2014 to improve her results.

Her goal now is to further her studies in ECD teaching. She feels that the Nobalisa’s work is helping to make a better life for children by bettering their first language literacy. “You can’t know other languages without your language,” she said.

During her younger years, Zikhona thought she would suit administrative work because she struggled to communicate with many people. However, through the Nobalisa team, she has started feeling more comfortable in a social position and never hesitates to jump in on singing and play.

“I learnt a lot while here about how to deal with other people,” Zikhona said.

“I’m trying to learn new things.”

Large numbers of learners in classrooms is still her biggest challenge, but only because the Nobalisa group remains quite small and limited in the amount of time they have with schools.

This year, Zikhona – affectionately called “Zish” in the office – has taken a lead together with numeracy coordinator Ingrid Mostert in preparing her team for starting numeracy clubs that will run alongside the reading clubs. Hours spent online learning new number sense games, adapting these for this context, and sharing them with the other Nobalisas are soon to pay off, with the first clubs kicking off in two weeks.

In her spare time, Zikhona enjoys going to the beach with friends and playing Frisbee. She is an active and formidable member of the local Zithulele team, a group one must be both fit and feisty to venture towards!

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