Group of unemployed youth fixing dilapidated graves for living in Nkowankowa


By Staff Writer

NKOWNKOWA-A group of unemployed youth have found a way to earn a living at Nkowankowa Cemetery. 

Miyelani Ntuli (33) and a group of other youth at Nkowankowa Cemetery help the families of the dead clean their loved ones’ graves for a negotiable fee.

But his work goes beyond just cleaning graves. Ntuli said he often has to join families on their emotional journeys on visits to the cemetery.

His services also come in handy for families who cannot identify their loved ones’ graves. He knows every inch of the cemetery and can identify graves even when the tags are missing, a job that would ordinarily be the task of municipality employees.

People who make visits on weekends often need help, but there are usually no staff to help them.

“But we are always at hand to assist,” said Ntuli

Ntuli said he and his colleagues are not just there to get money from the families, but were fully aware that the families require emotional support.

Nkowankowa Cemetery cleaned up and safe.

On his “hustle”, as he calls it, Ntuli said it was not a matter of choice for him, but the only thing he could do to prevent his family from starving.

“I matriculated in 2012 but due to my poor background I couldn’t further my studies, something that would have hopefully changed his situation”

Despite his long voluntary service, he admits that his hustle has taken an emotional toll. But he had no choice.

“It’s this or sitting at home and folding my hands.”

Ntuli works so closely with families at the cemetery that the outpouring of grief at the graveside affects him directly as if he were a family member.

He has been submitting his CV to Greater Tzaneen municipality, hoping that one day they can absorb them.

“We appeal to anyone to donate us boots, brush cutter or anything that can assist us”

The last time he submitted a CV was in 2020, but he never received a response, not even a rejection. He begged GTM to consider absorbing them because some we are very experienced and could be an asset to the municipality

“Even the local councillor knows about us, at some point she even told us to quit because is difficult to work without salary”

The Greater Tzaneen Municipality was not available for comment.


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