Image: Jabulani Norman Mashele with the late former Statesman Nelson Mandela



If we ever had an ideal of installing a father Teresa of our own, Javulani Norman Mashele would definitely be the man for the title. A man who is armed with an education from the University of Limpopo but chooses to abandon his professional career and settle for working for the community.

 Javulani attended the then university of the North around early 90s during the country’s negotiations for the new dispensation. He was among the leading influential student leaders at the time, involved in student organizations against the then apartheid government.

  In the mist of the political turmoil of the 90s Javulani never hid himself but was amongst the few who dared the oppressive system from the institutions of higher learning. He graduated and headed back home with an idea of community building and empowering people with skills he enquired at Turf.

 Javulani started a community project that seeks to impart skills to budding farmers and ordinary villagers that either own a communal land or live stock. The project named Vafuwu (Farmers In TSONGA) has contributed in food security in the village as many now depend on the food they harvest from their small holdings.


Javulani’s extensive experience in community building and working for the poor and mostly rural communities has helped in saving people’s lives and live stock. His idea of developing a method where cows will put on reflectors so that at night motor vehicle drivers can easily identify that there is a cow sleeping on the road has reduced road fatalities. 


“I realized that we’re losing cows and at the same time people were dying from accidents caused by these cows and I decided to come up with this idea and it has certainly helped a bit,” Javulani said.

 “Our aim is to make sure that the farmers, especially those that have cows understand the importance of not only having the live stock but the business element of it. We have many in our communities who have many cows but really do not know the investment associated with it”, he added.

 His rural homestead Makhuva is 54 kilometers outside of Giyani and just like many villages, water is a scarce resource for the villagers who depend on a government borehole. The borehole machine is constantly broken into and people steal it, leaving the community with a bigger challenge of having to try other means of getting water like using the nearby river as a source.


The machine has been stolen a number of times and it took some time to have another one installed. The government only installed the machine and no security was put in place to prevent it from being accessed by thieves. So Javulani decided to camp every night next to the machine to safe guard it from criminals, doing all this out of free will with no payment from the community or the government. He has devoted his time to serve his people and help out to build a better community with good deeds.


Happy Chauke, one of the community leaders and a librarian in the village describes Javulani as someone who refuses to participate in factionalism or anything that divides the community but instead chooses to be a community builder and contributor.

 “This man has contributed a lot to our community, he has sacrificed for the people and donated some of his books to the library”, Chauke said.

 “I wish we could have more people like him, who are willing to do good and expect nothing in return”,  Happy continued praising the good deeds of Javulani Mashele.


It’s inspiring to hear about people that are willing to abandon their dreams and sacrifice for others.

 By Ntsako Shivambu




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