Personal independence – A window to Greatness

Personal Independence is an open window through which opportunities of life begin to trickle in and the desired potential begin manifesting through. Any man who has attained personal independence, especially from a disadvantaged epicenter of life ends up with an impressive story to tell.

This is the case with Zenzo Nkomo, a deaf man who found his personal independence at King George VI so many years ago. His story follows a trail of potential and opportunities that come with finding personal independence.

Zenzo was born in a family of two boys. He was the only deaf child in the family. He says communication with his relatives and other children in the community was a difficult because he is completely deaf.

“I can say I found my personal independence when I enrolled at King George in 1984. Back then, sign language had not been popularized as much. When I was finally able to learn it and communicate with other people, I felt my world opening up,” said Zenzo.

After completing his education in 1999, King George offered Zenzo another chance to greatness. They say that it would have been sad to make him go back to the lonely life he used to have. They offered him training in various types of work in the maintenance department.

“While working at the KGVI maintenance workshop, I learnt so many different things such as electric connections, fixing pipes and basic knowledge in steel work and water maintenance. It was during this time that I discovered my passion,” said Zenzo.

An opportunity then arose at Dabane Trust, an organisation that is dedicated to establishing water and food secure communities within arid and semi-arid Zimbabwe. They wanted handimen to work in the workshop. Zenzo became one of those who were selected for the opportunity.

Him and a few others started at Dabane as simple helpers in the workshop as well. He says it was difficult at first because he could not hear the instructions.

Zenzo Nkomo

“But it got better because my boss then used to write down instructions for me. I would get papers with measurements and instructions and at that time I began to learn how to interact with non-deaf people.

“Being deaf even helped me in my craft because instructions written on paper meant I would always go back to them and sometimes study them for my own ideas such as modifications and new inventions,” said Zenzo.

He has developed his craft beyond one could ever imagine. When Dabane developed the Rowa Pump, Zenzo was also part of the team that made it possible.

Currently, Zenzo is a father of two children, a boy and a girl. The young boy is deaf and the girl is partially deaf. He says he wants to be a good father and role model to his two children.

“In this industry I have learnt to make well-points, foot valves, water source connections, fencing and other things. I wish I could impart my children with the same gift so that they learn from their father,”

He still works at Dabane and the organisation is proud of him. They say he is a smart and organized young man with a stable mind.

“Zenzo is hardworking. He works for his family and we are happy because he is a dependable young man. He bought himself a car, settled down and takes care of all his family members,” said one of the Dabane members.

This goes on to show the work that King George has been doing. We are an organisation that nurtures a child right up until they figure out what they want to be in life. It is not easy to have a disability because it means most opportunities can pass you by. We strive to make that ground levelled.