CITY CENTRE – ZDDT Field Correspondent, Mandla Tshuma (MT),briefly spoke to Geoffrey Gumbo (GG), a resident from Emakhandeni, immediately after a recently held Expanded Zone meeting at the Small City Hall.
The two discussed a number of issues pertaining to leadership and democracy. Below is their conversation.
MT: As we start our brief talk, can you kindly tell me who you are and where you are from.
GG: My name is Geoffrey Gumbo and I am from Emakhandeni in Ward 11.
MT: How many times have you attended ZDDT meetings?
GG: I have attended so many times. It should be seven times or more.
MT: When did you start coming to these meetings?
GG: I think it is last year.
MT: What would you say you have learnt so far from these meetings?
GG: I have learnt the importance of participation in that we get a chance to meet with our community leaders, especially our councillors. We get to highlight our challenges to them.
MT: Looking at ZDDT as an organisation, what would you say distinguishes it from other NGOs?
GG: ZDDT brings together community leaders and residents and sometimes Council officials.
MT: In Ward 11, are you a leader?
GG: I actually lead an organisation called CYAT and that is Christian Youth Aids Trust.
MT: What position do you hold there, are the director?
GG: Yes, I am the director. You will find that we rub shoulders with the leadership and get a chance to highlight residents’ concerns as a person who works in that community.
MT: What would you then say you have learnt about leadership?
GG: I have actually attended some of the trainings on leadership that were organised by ZDDT. It is in those trainings that I learnt how to mobilise communities and how to be a good leader and so forth. So, I have learned a lot from the meetings that were organised by ZDDT.
MT: Now turning to the subject of democracy, what is your understanding of democracy?
GG: My understanding of democracy is that people have to participate freely and to be able to be heard by the leaders. In fact the involvement of the communities is what brings democracy, I think.
MT: What are some of the challenges facing the current leadership today?
GG: The current leadership, I think does not take issues from the community. They are not involving the communities in some of the things that they do.
MT: What do you think needs to be done in order to address that?
GG: When people choose their leaders, they should not choose on political affiliations but they should look at the individual’s capacity to deliver to the communities.
MT: How is your relationship with your councillor like?
GG: My relationship with my councillor is quite ok. We interact. I tell him the truth with regards our concerns as residents.
MT: Looking at your organisation, briefly what do you do?
GG: Our organisation is into capacity building, targeting mainly, the young people. It has a health aspect to it. We conscientise young people on the importance of health. We also bring in the development aspect, where we try to help our young people in the communities to try and maybe run projects, things like that.
MT: Thank you so much Gumbo for your time.